UNI Global Union marked the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia by calling out discrimination and inequality
On May 17, UNI Global Union is joining activists, civil society and the global labour movement to stand side by side with LGBTI+ workers all over the world.
“Trade unions all over the world are playing a crucial role in the fight against LGBTI+ prejudice and discrimination,” said Veronica Fernandes Mendes, Director of UNI’s Equal Opportunities department. “Unions have a long history of campaigning for LGBTI+ rights, and we will continue to do our utmost to ensure that all workers are free from fear, harassment, and bias in the workplace.”
LGBTI+ workers are often marginalized and over-represented in precarious forms of work, and subject to harassment and violence. Many cannot even be open about who they are for fear of reprisal, harassment or even dismissal. However, earlier this year, a UNI Global Union survey demonstrated that unions could be crucial in the fights against LGBTI+ discrimination and ensure more inclusive workplaces.
Over 1,300 respondents underlined strong unions and negotiating clauses in collective bargaining agreements which enshrine LGBTI+ rights as the way forward in the fight against LGBTI+ discrimination. The theme of this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), ‘Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights’, is a reminder that everyone must have the right to make decisions about their bodies and their lives. And that’s what workers do when they come together as a union, organizing collectively to improve the issues that impact on them.
Millions of LGBTI+ people around the world continue to routinely suffer prejudice, discrimination, and violence in their workplaces, communities, and homes. As we exit the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that social exclusion and violence has deepened inequalities and exacerbated the lives of millions of LGBTI+ people worldwide.
Despite the concerning increase in discrimination against LGBTI+ workers, trade unions can – and must – step up to build safe and healthy workplaces for all.
Unions all over the world are continuing the push to ratify the International Labour Organization’s Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment, which could be a groundbreaking gamechanger in protecting LGBTI+ workers on the job.