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STUC LGBT+ Conference 2024: Usdaw seeks to end discrimination, with a focus on mental health and people living with HIV

Date: 10 May 2024 Retail trade union Usdaw has a delegation of reps and official attending the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Plus (LGBT+) annual conference in Glasgow, 11 and 12 May. Usdaw is raising the impact of discrimination, specifically on the mental health of LGBT+ workers and those living with HIV.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw general secretary says: “Stigma has a profound impact on people living with HIV, with three in four having experienced discrimination due to their HIV status. Medical advancements mean that people with HIV can expect to live long healthy lives and society has the tools to stop HIV transmissions for good. Despite this, a widespread lack of awareness of the facts continues to generate high levels of stigma and discrimination. This has a disproportionate impact on LGBT+ people, despite new HIV diagnoses falling for this group.
“In the workplace, HIV discrimination manifests itself in multiple ways including breaches of confidentiality, isolation, harassment and not having contracts or offers of employment renewed. Raising awareness of the facts about HIV tackles stigma and removes the fear that often surrounds the virus. It enables those living with HIV to be treated equally and with dignity and respect. This in turn makes accessing testing and living with HIV easier.”
Usdaw is calling for the STUC to:
  • Encourage unions to raise awareness of the facts and take action to tackle HIV stigma.
  • Support the work unions are doing with employers to end HIV discrimination in the workplace.
  • Lobby the Scottish Government to deliver on their 2021 manifesto commitment by bringing forward a comprehensive, fully funded HIV transmission elimination delivery plan. 
Paddy Lillis continues: “LGBT+ people in Scotland continue to face major health inequalities in every measure of wellbeing, including mental health. Discrimination not only contributes to mental ill health but also heavily influences decisions about and access to treatment and diagnosis.  For many LGBT+ people, discrimination and abuse at work continue to be commonplace and create workplaces where LGBT+ people feel excluded and unable to be themselves. It is vital in their work on these issues that unions continue to seek to address the social and workplace factors that increase the risk of LGBT+ workers developing mental distress.”
Usdaw is calling for the STUC to:
  • Support union efforts to ensure reps and officers are properly equipped to respond appropriately and positively to complaints of harassment.
  • Give a voice to LGBT+ members who experience mental ill health or distress, so that their experience informs and is centred in the movement’s efforts to win them a better deal at work and in society.
  • Re-emphasise the crucial role collective bargaining plays in delivering safe, equal and inclusive workplaces by publishing and/or updating guidance on LGBT+ bargaining. 
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is one of the fastest growing unions in the TUC and the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry and other trades www.usdaw.org.uk
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers