Socialist Party
| Print

5 June 2019

Sexual harassment of LGBT+ workers shows need for unions to fight

Maddy Steeds, Socialist Party LGBT+ group

68% of LGBT+ people have faced sexual harassment at work, finds a recent report from the Trade Union Congress. Of these, two in three did not report it to their employers. A quarter of those chose not to for fear of being outed.

The fear of being outed is not unwarranted. Some lesbian and bisexual women reported experiencing verbal harassment with threats of 'turning them straight'.

Bisexual people in the workplace have experienced their sexuality being used as a justification for harassment. One explained their manager "said I had 'brought it upon myself'" and that as a bisexual they "must like that thing."

The trade union movement needs to take a stand against discrimination of LGBT+ people, not only in the workplace but in wider society. Stigma against bisexual people is seen in society beyond the workplace. The trade unions must take a stand that this is unacceptable in all aspects of life.

Transgender people have also experienced sexual harassment. One third of trans women reported being sexually assaulted. One woman reported it was her manager who had assaulted her.

The report stated that not enough trans men responded to the survey, so more needs to be done to investigate the experiences of trans men at work.

The trade union movement needs to protect the rights of trans people in the workplace and beyond.

The TUC report, disappointingly, did not investigate the experiences of non-binary people. The unions need to recognise non-binary people and support the right to self-identification. This is part of making LGBT+ people more supported in the workplace.

The report recommends the government fund services for LGBT+ people who face sexual harassment, as well as funding organisations fighting harassment. However, in a time of capitalist austerity, the TUC needs to do more than politely ask for services in a report.

Action is what is needed. The TUC needs to organise the unions to fight for funding, including calling mass demonstrations and building towards strikes against austerity, to force a general election and get the Tories out.

The Socialist Party says no to all sexual harassment. Trade unionists have fought successfully for issues such as abortion, sexual harassment and domestic violence to become trade union issues in the past. This includes, for example, the Campaign Against Domestic Violence, led by Militant, forerunner of the Socialist Party.

This starts with a zero-tolerance approach, but also means campaigns and mass action in the workplaces, campuses and streets. Workers on the Woolwich ferry won action against sexual harassment by striking in 2017.

The unions should also fight to ban zero-hour contracts, which make workers more vulnerable, and guarantee employment and trade union rights from day one.

The report does call on unions to organise workplace campaigns to publicise the support they can offer. The best support would be leading a real fight for LGBT+ rights, as the unions have historically, and need to do again.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/29207




Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

triangle15 Jan Reverse Unison's undemocratic nomination of Blairite Starmer

triangle15 Jan Build for strikes to save NHS

triangle15 Jan Young people who voted for Corbyn's manifesto will now ask... How can...

triangle15 Jan Massive Scottish independence demo marks new stage in struggle

triangle15 Jan France: Struggle over pension rights; government in difficulty

triangle15 Jan Labour Party leadership contest: Fight for a mass anti-austerity,...

triangle9 Jan Unison national executive members challenge validity of nomination...

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle20 Jan Leeds Socialist Party: How would socialist planning work?

triangle20 Jan Nottingham Socialist Party: The role of a revolutionary party today

triangle21 Jan Birmingham SE Socialist Party: Socialism and Religion

triangle21 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: Chile in Revolt

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999