Equal Opportunities

INCREASE GENDER REPRESENTATION/ GENDER BALANCE

One of the main objectives set by UNI Global Union, through its Equal Opportunities Department has been to attain productive development based on gender equality. We regard this principle as essential to achieving sustainable development and true social justice for everyone.

The Equal Opportunites Department carries out programmes, campaigns and other activities in order to fulfil this goal, both within the organization and among our affiliates.

THE WAGE GAP

One of the areas at the workplace where gender differences are seen is the difference in the remuneration that men and women workers receive for work of equal value. A study by the International Labour Organization in 2013 shows that the global wage gap is 23%.

However, this number does not account for the millions of women working in the informal economy with no protection. Also, many countries lack reliable statistics to prepare more accurate reports, therefore, this already high figure will be even higher.

Access to education continues to be key to bridging the wage gap. However, it is not the only instrument, since women with higher education are at the ends of the gap with their male peers.For that reason, UNI has pledged to work to make ILO Convention 100 requiring equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value effective in every work site.

VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE - SEXUAL HARASSMENT

The socially and culturally built hierarchy between the genders holds certain power relationships. Any power relationship is asymmetrical by definition, i.e. one of the subjects of the relationship has power and the other one does not.

Usually, men are socially regarded as being of higher value. This asymmetrical situation is present in many areas of social life and can lead to violence (physical, verbal, or psychological).

Sexual harassment is a form of violence that through a show of power intimidates, humiliates, and affects another person’s dignity. This behavior is sexual in nature (physical contacts, sexual advances, comments and jokes with sexual content, exhibiting pornographic material or making inappropriate comments) and undesired; it is perceived by the victim as a condition to keep the job, or as one that creates a hostile, intimidating, and humiliating work environment.

WORKPLACE MOBBING

Workplace mobbing (from the English term "mob": to attack with violence) refers to the action on one individual by one or many individuals intended to cause fear or terror in the workplace.

The victim of workplace mobbing is systematically and frequently subjected to psychological violence through negative activities by co-workers, subordinates, or superiors over a long period of time.

These activities, which are intended to harass, intimidate or disturb the victim forcing him or her out of the workplace, include but are not limited to:

  •  Yelling at, subduing or insulting the victim alone or in public;
  • Assigning unattainable objectives or projects;
  • Selectively overburdening the victim with a high workload;
  • Continuously threatening or coercing the victim;
  • Removing the victim from key work responsibility areas, offering instead routine or uninteresting tasks, or even no work to do;
  • Treating the individual differently or in a discriminatory way. Ignoring or excluding the individual;
  • Withholding critical information to perform his or her work or manipulating it to lead the individual to make a mistake in the performance of his or her tasks;
  • Continuous criticism of the individual’s work, ideas, proposals, and solutions;
  • Severely punishing the individual or preventing him or her from making any decision or taking any personal initiative within the scope of his or her rights and responsibilities;
  • Violating the target’s privacy by controlling his or her mail and/or telephone, browsing through his or her documents, lockers, and drawers;
  • Encouraging other co-workers to participate in any of the above-mentioned activities by persuasion, coercion, or abuse of power.

CONVENTIONS, PROVISIONS AND DOCUMENTS

Gender Equality and Decent Work - Key Conventions and Recommendations on Gender Equality

WORK - LIFE BALANCE

 Globalization of the economy has brought about changes in the labour market structure and labour organization, which had remained stable throughout the 20th century. The traditional model of sexual division of labour had placed productive tasks (supporting and providing for the family) in the hands of men and reproductive ones in the hands of women (caring for children and the elderly, housekeeping chores.)

Today, women increasingly share the provider role with men. However, there has not been a similar change in the distribution of domestic work. For that reason, women with both roles (productive and reproductive) work more hours than men, get less rest, and are burdened with a heavy workload that puts their health at risk and limits their chances of developing a professional career.

We must then reflect upon these issues and devise policies intended to balance work and family life to overcome gender inequalities, so that both men and women may have access to a full family life and a professional career.

CONVENTIONS, PROVISIONS AND DOCUMENTS

ILO C156 Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention, 1981

LGBT

Members and allies of the LGBT community populate every sector and every union throughout the world; studies to determine the percent of the population who are LGBT suggest that there are least about a million LGBT members in UNI Global Union and that likely there are millions more. Workers with different sexual orientations or gender identities are particularly vulnerable to violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization, and prejudice in the workplace.

For example, a 2009 survey UNI Global Union’s affiliate, PSEU (Ireland) found that 67% of LGBT members believed there was a lack of awareness on LGBT issues and over half of the LGBT members feared unfair treatment because of their sexual orientation. One member reported how an “immediate superior in my previous department told me that gay people were animals and they had no right to life, let alone any other rights.”

It is important to note that this survey was undertaken in a country with a relatively high level of legal protections and policies for LGBT people. However, in other countries LGBT members can face being fired, imprisonment, corporal punishment or being killed. For example, in Malaysia a LGBT person can be imprisoned for 20 years because of their sexual orientation.

The bottom line is that LGBT people are everywhere and if heterosexism or homophobia are allowed to flourish, divisions and problems are created to the extent that workers can never be effectively organised. Therefore, it is at the heart of UNI Global Union’s mission to start breaking through this discrimination and violence against workers of different sexual orientations or gender identities and to fight for equality for all workers.

RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA

Millions of workers throughout world experience discrimination because of their race, colour, nationality, or ethnicity. Globalization has caused a drastic increase in the number of migrant workers and unfortunately leaves them especially vulnerable; the ILO estimates that in 2010 there were 214 million migrants worldwide and only 105 million were employed. This increase in migration has led to greater racial and ethnic diversity within society and the workplace and thus has increased racial tensions.

Racism and xenophobia threatens social stability and impedes the operation of the economy; it poisons solidarity by forming divisions among members, in the workplace, and in society. On the other hand, fighting racism and xenophobia present a powerful organizing opportunity to engage a wider membership around the world.

Breaking through racism and xenophobia requires consistent support on all levels, from the individual, the national, and the international community. Therefore, UNI Global Union is committed to eradicating inequality among its members based on the difference between race, religion, colour, nationalities or ethnicity.