UNISON will stand with its LGBT members, against discrimination, for as long as it takes. That was the message from general secretary Dave Prentis tonight, as the union’s LGBT 2016 conference convened in Llandudno.
Unable to join delegates in the Welsh resort, Mr Prentis’s message was read out at a reception to welcome the conference to the town.
He noted his pride that the union and its members have been “campaigning for equality since the early 1970s”.
There had, he wrote, been a great many changes in the decades since, “whether you’re L, G, B or T.
“As I’ve said before, we’ve gone from criminalisation to celebration. Yet even in an increasingly modern and open Britain – with strong equal rights legislation – UNISON’s LGBT members still face continuing prejudice and discrimination, both inside and outside work.”
And he pledged: “Your union stands behind you against discrimination no matter what form it takes. We will continue to fight it alongside all of you until the stain of prejudice is finally eradicated from our society, and the equal rights of legislation are borne out through real equality across our country.”
He noted that LGBT members are “doubly hit by the impact of cuts,” losing out both as public sector workers and “because the discrimination you face means you’re often more likely to need those same services.
“That’s just one of the findings from the report Implications of reductions to public spending for LGB and T people and services, that I’m proud to say is being released – thanks to UNISON’s support – at this conference.”
And Mr Prentis concluded by thanking LGBT members for all that they do – for the union as a whole, as well as for their own self-organised group.