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I recently had the opportunity to attend this year’s TUC Women’s Conference at Congress house in London.
This year’s conference was under the banner of “Sisters in Solidarity” and how very true that was!!!
32 Trade Unions were represented by powerful, brave, confident and inspirational women.
I listened to those who talked about proactive initiatives, those raising an awareness of the importance of workplace issues. I heard of the unfairness experienced in the workplace and from activists who are challenging and progressing positive change.
The conference celebrated achievements and successes as well as forming the agenda for the TUC Women’s committee for the year ahead.
It is evident that whatever type of employment we work within, all of us share and experience the same endemic workplace issues, which stretch across the width and breathe of all employment sectors and industries.
Platform speakers included Mark Serwotka, the TUC President, Frances O’Grady the TUC General Secretary Mandy La Combre presentencing a Trade Union campaign to repeal the 8th and Dawn Butler Labours Women & Equalities secretary.
A variety of fringe meetings were held including how we can better support Trans and non- binary members in the workplace.
Conference presented 45 motions to congress. All were carried unanimously. Motions related to -Collective bargaining, closing the gender pay and the Pension’s gap – Period poverty-achieving a balanced workforce in industry and Gender sensitive health & safety and other policies in the workplace.
When women raise awareness, bargain, campaign and lobby for fairness “fairness for all” is the agenda not just for women.
Conference called on the Women’s Committee, to support, raise and to continue to raise awareness, lobby campaign and progress real change for substantial spending increases on mental health resource, to extend shared parental pay to self- employed workers, to monitor parliamentary progress on the Women and Equalities Committee’s (WEC) reform proposals on Non- disclosure agreements (NDAs) and to actively campaign for a change in the law concerning part time insecure zero-hours working contracts.
Sexual harassment is still a very real issue for women in the workplace and is lost within general harassment and bullying statistics. TUC research shows more than 50% of women who are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, less than one in five report it.
Many women are reluctant to make a complaint as they are often in insecure part time employment and are not protected by union membership.
Conference called on the TUC to campaign for a change in the law, making it compulsory for employers to facilitate and provided “Sexual harassment awareness training” in the expectation of educating all employees with the hope it will have an impact on reducing these appalling high statistics.
The TUCs Women’s Conference united women delegates from 32 trade Unions, strong women who are driving forward positive change for all. “Solidarity”
Pauline Johns, South South Western Branch