UNISON has a proud track record on tackling equalities issues and ensuring that equality is at the heart of our union. In order to do so, we need to ensure that equalities is discussed in our branches and our committees.
We know that in each of our workplaces, and in each of our service groups, our members are effected by discrimination and unfair workplace practises everyday. A recent NHS survey found that 15% of staff experienced discrimination at work. Moreover, 19% of NHS staff are Black but only 7% of the top managers.
We are encouraging branch committee meeting and AGM to have ‘Equalities’ as a standing item on the agenda with a meaningful discussion at every meeting.
There are plenty of topics to get your teeth into, to kick start discussions, here are a few suggestions:
- Start by asking your Self Organised Group Officers or Equalities Co-Ordinator what their priorities are! If you don’t have any, organise meetings with members of each group and try and recruit new reps and begin discussions that can be brought back to the branch committee.
- Every policy should be ‘Equality Checked’ before being agreed what may seem straightforward, like a Uniform policy, can have real consequences for women, black, disabled and LGBT+ staff.
- Upcoming restructures, redundancies or T&Cs changes should be considered from an equalities angle: does it disproportionately impact a certain group of staff and if so how?
- All employers should be reporting their Gender Pay Gaps, but there are also Black, Disabled and LGBT+ pay gaps. Only through proactive engagement with employers and significant action plans can we achieve fair pay for all staff.
- Ask your employer for workforce equalities statistics on anything from staff recruitment to disciplinaries to flexible working requests. Identify key issues and challenge employers to do more!
- There are plenty of equalities events throughout the year for your branch to support- from International Women’s Day to Black History Month. Plan an event and use it to recruit new members.