John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “This weekend we celebrate 50 years of progress towards equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, but remain focused on continuing the campaign to end discrimination.
“The legal landscape has changed beyond recognition in recent years. LGBT people now have equal rights and protections in the workplace, on age of consent, as parents and to marry - albeit that’s a battle still to be won in Northern Ireland. These rights were hard fought for by Usdaw and our sister trade unions along with LGBT campaigners and others.
“Accompanying legal reform there has also been a dramatic shift in social attitudes towards LGBT people with surveys repeatedly demonstrating a reduction in widely-held prejudices. There is much to be proud of.
“However, discrimination and harassment have not gone away. The law alone doesn’t stop LGBT workers from being harassed at work, denied access to services or assaulted on the street. Bullying and harassment at work remains a traumatic part of everyday life for far too many of LGBT workers.
“Being in a union can and does make a difference. Usdaw gives space to LGBT members to come together to discuss issues and help set our priorities. We provide our members with advice, guidance and information, an LGBT section on our website and regular articles in the Union's magazines, support members transitioning in the workplace and run training for reps on the Equality Act and LGBT issues.
“Additional to the work we do to increase our LGBT members involvement and address issues in the workplace, Usdaw also supports the broader movement for LGBT equality by working with the TUC and affiliated Unions.
“London Pride shows that together we can build on our successes and continue on the journey towards equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest trade union with nearly 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 20% in the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion