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STUC LGBT+ Conference 2021: Usdaw makes the case for improving visibility and addressing inequality

Date: 22 May 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw has a delegation of members and officials attending this year’s online Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Plus (LGBT+) Conference, which starts today and closes tomorrow. Usdaw is highlighting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on LGBT+ workers and seeking to address longstanding inequality issues that have been entrenched still further by the crisis.
Usdaw is calling on the STUC LGBT+ Committee to:
  • Highlight the unequal impact of the crisis on LGBT+ workers and make recommendations for urgent action to address inequalities.
  • Welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to include sexual orientation and trans status monitoring in the Scottish census 2022.
  • Continue to make visible the experiences and concerns of LGBT+ workers and their communities. 
Paddy Lillis –Usdaw General Secretary says: “There can be no doubt that the inequality and discrimination LGBT+ people face has been made worse by the coronavirus crisis.  Long standing inequalities in accessing community and financial support, healthcare, housing and employment have all been exacerbated and it is highly likely these inequalities will persist and deepen unless urgent action is taken by Government to systematically monitor and address the specific needs of LGBT+ people.
“Usdaw delegates attending the conference will be talking about how their lives have changed in ways we could never have believed possible prior to the pandemic, particularly regarding mental health. Anyone can experience a mental health problem at any time but discrimination, poverty, prejudice and bigotry all heighten the risk for LGBT+ workers.
“Due to the absence of sexual orientation and trans status monitoring questions in the Scotland Census, evidence of the impact of the coronavirus crisis on LGBT+ workers has been absent from much of the narrative surrounding the pandemic both in Scotland and across the UK.  We welcome the ongoing work trade unions and LGBT+ led organisations are carrying out to consult LGBT+ members and make visible their experiences and concerns during the pandemic.
“A recent Usdaw survey of over four thousand members found that almost three quarters felt anxious about going to work, triggered by fears of catching the virus and customer abuse and harassment. Many LGBT+ members reported experiencing phobic abuse from customers. This was the case before the pandemic, but policing face coverings and social distancing have made a bad situation worse.
“The Covid-19 crisis has dominated all our lives and regrettably side-lined many important issues that we have campaigned on over the years. We have to ensure that those campaigns continue and that we build back better after the pandemic. So I send my fraternal greeting to the conference delegates and wish them well in their discussions on how to improve the lives of LGBT+ workers.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. 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: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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