Global Unions play an important role in advocating for workers’ rights around the world and are essential to bringing democracy to our workplaces. Without collective voice and power, workers’ rights, including their right to equality, equity and non-discrimination cannot be secured. As Global Unions, we are committed to ensuring that every worker is treated with dignity and respect. We fight for the rights of every worker and we stand against all forms of discrimination. Some examples of trade union victories around the world include: minimum wages, lower working time, weekends and paid holiday, protection from discrimination, maternity protection and parental leave, health and safety, time off for carers and freedom from violence and harassment at work.
For decades, Global Unions have campaigned for LGBTI workers’ rights. In 2007, Public Services International and Education International published a brochure which set out how trade unions can implement LGBTI-inclusive policies, organise LGBTI workers and collectively negotiate for their rights. These first steps helped trade unions improve their understanding of LGBTI issues and how they can campaign for LGBTI rights. However, LGBTI people still face widespread discrimination in the workplace because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics: from income disparity to workplace harassment, from unfair treatment at work to discrimination when applying for a job.
Many of our affiliated trade unions have accomplished so much in the struggle for LGBTI rights. The Global Unions have formalised a joint working group for the purpose of promoting and fighting for LGBTI rights and assisting affiliates in this important work. Our Solidarity Charter on LGBTI rights sets out how we will do this. You can read it at the end of this brochure.
We have created a dedicated space for LGBTI workers on our website, www.lgbtiworkers.org. At the time of publication, there are over 50 different examples of the work our affiliates have achieved, from equality policies and collective bargaining guides to changing their national discourse on LGBTI issues.
As trade unionists, we learn by seeing what works in other contexts and adapting it to our own. We want to encourage our affiliates to share their stories and to learn from other trade unionists around the world.
This brochure outlines some of the excellent campaigning trade unions have done throughout the world on LGBTI rights. We wanted to provide practical examples of what has worked for them. However, this is just a selection of the great work being done by trade unions. We encourage you to engage with our LGBTIworkers.org website and share your stories.
We hope that you find this a valuable resource.