Staying Alive: Pay and the survival of LGBT+ services

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2023 National Community Conference and Seminar
11 November 2022

Conference notes that “‘Staying Alive’: The Impact of ‘Austerity Cuts’ on the LGBT Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) in England and Wales” a Trade Union Congress (TUC) – funded research report by Fiona Colgan et al at London Metropolitan University in 2014 was the last significant analysis of the state of the sector in relation to Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender plus (LGBT+) specific organisations.

Since that time, a range of reports and analyses have outlined the significant impact that austerity has on the delivery of services across the Community and Voluntary Sector as a whole. This is now complicated and exacerbated by the overwhelming cost of living crisis that engulfs workers across our sector.

Conference further notes the 2022 Law Family Commission on Civil Society/Pro Bono Economics and Living Wage Foundation reports, both of which highlight how workers in the community sector are undervalued and underpaid and how this impacts the survival of the charity sector, the diversity of its employees and future delivery of services to marginalised communities.

Conference believes that many LGBT+ services and charities share a commonality of experience with Black, Disabled, Women-specific and Youth organisations. All of whom share a disproportionate impact as limited resources are apportioned within a sector which is experiencing an exponential call on our services as statutory provision is increasingly constrained. This in turn impacts our members pay and conditions.

With charity staff paid 7% less per hour on average than workers in the rest of the economy this pay-lag limits the pool of potential staff and thus limits the diversity of that staff pool. At the same time, endemic low pay drives out existing staff which in turn, affects UNISON’s ability to recruit and retain members who are representative of our diverse, intersectional communities.

Conference therefore calls on the Community Service Group Executive to work with the National Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender plus (NLGBT +) Committee:

1. To continue to highlight the effects of austerity and cost of living crisis have on the delivery of services to the LGBT+ community through all appropriate media.

2. To produce information and circulate existing guidance relating to the pay, terms and working conditions of LGBT+ Community members which are integral to the overall work on pay and bargaining in Community.

3. To build links with the Consortium of LGBT Voluntary and Community Organisations to identify the issues facing the sector and work together on initiatives of joint concern.

4. In any campaigning work, highlight the issues of sectoral pay and the impact this has on the survival of LGBT+ charities and on the terms and conditions of our LGBT+ members working in community.