UNI Equal Opportunities survey: unions can make the difference in fight against LGBTI+ discrimination at work


UNI Equal Opportunities survey: unions can make the difference in fight against LGBTI+ discrimination at work

Groundbreaking survey on the issues facing LGBTI+ workers published at 2nd UNI Equal Opportunities’ LGBTI+ network

Last week, UNI Equal Opportunities published the findings of a groundbreaking survey, showing that unions could make the difference in the fight against LGBTI+ discrimination and ensure more inclusive workplaces.

The survey, which looked at the issues faced by LGBTI+ workers on the job and perceptions about  LGBTI+ rights at work, demonstrated that the majority of respondents focused on the need for unions to carry out campaigns to educate and train on  LGBTI+ issues and implement clauses in CBAs which enshrine LGBTI+ rights at work.

The report, which was unveiled at the second meeting of UNI Equal Opportunities’ LGBTI+ network (launched in 2020 to fight prejudice against LGBTI+ workers and amplify their voices at work), featured two questionnaires. The first questionnaire was open to all members, whereas the second was specifically reserved for members of the LGBTI+ community.

With over 1,300 responses from over 51 countries and 120 unions, the report highlighted the situation faced by many LGBTI+ workers in their workplaces and underlined unions can help combat bias and discrimination in the workplace.

However, respondents also felt that it was crucial that unions work hard to “truly represent all of their members and strive for equality and inclusion for LGBTI+ workers.”

“Trade unions are playing a leading role in the fight against discrimination in the workplace,” said Veronica Fernandez Mendez, Head of UNI Equal Opportunities. “Our LGBTI+ Network is a key tool in the fight to eliminate bias and make work safe for all workers.”

“We are determined to work together with our affiliates and redouble our efforts to fight all forms of violence and intolerance against LGBTI+ workers.” 

The UNI LGBTI+ network meeting included a panel of experts, workers and academics who further discussed the issue of discrimination and diversity within the LGBTI+ community, focusing on the topic of lesbophobia, as presented by Dr. Concepcion Unanue Cuesta, professor in Anthropology and Social Work.

Her presentation was followed by the powerful first-hand account of Sandra, a Colombian worker who highlighted the importance of trade unions in fighting and protecting LGBTI+ workers.

Dr. Jane Pillinger,  Gender Expert and Independent Researcher, who emphasized the importance of using ILO Convention 190 as a way of protecting LGBTI+ workers.

“Everyone has their part to play to make sure that LGBTI+ workers are protected by ILO Convention 190,” said Pillinger to the LGBTI+ Network. “The convention is comprehensive, groundbreaking, and can really make a difference for workers.”

Since its inception, UNI Global Union through its UNI Equal Opportunities Department, has had an active role in the preparation and adoption of Convention 190 and Recommendation 206, as well as campaigning for its ratification by member States throughout all UNI regions. Together with other global union federations and the ITUC it has developed tools for unions to implement this Convention and Recommendation in their work.