Daily News wrap #2 - PSI Congress

Our daily news wrap for congress events, delivered straight to you everyday, covering all the action! 

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Congress 2023 - Pre-meetings (13 October)

Note: some of this text may have been automatically to improve accessibility to as wide a group of people as possible.

In short:

  • LGBT Forum explored successful union inclusivity models.

  • KPTU in South Korea achieved a gender-neutral collective bargaining agreement.

  • Call for recognition, better working conditions, and harassment elimination.

  • Dutch Trade Unions advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion, influence policies.

  • Costa Rican union urges investment in LGBTQI+ rights through alliances.

  • Research finds variations in union commitment to LGBTQI+ rights.

  • Anti-LGBT+ backlash threatens equality and workplace solidarity.

  • Right-wing agendas increase threats to LGBT+ communities in Sweden, Brazil, and Italy.

  • Investigative journalist Claire Provost uncovers efforts to undermine LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights.

  • Unions resist privatization, emphasizing coalition-building and transparency laws.

  • Success of "Our Water, Our Rights" movement in Nigeria against water privatization.

  • Efforts to challenge privatization in Pakistan and Australia.

  • Unions support climate refugees and displaced persons, advocating for rights and climate action.

  • ISP's Young Workers Network discusses achievements and challenges.

  • Assistant General Secretary Daniel Bertossa urges young worker involvement in building union power.

  • Migration event addresses health workforce shortages and labor migration.

  • Maren Hopfe discusses ILO Conventions and UN Guidance on Bilateral Labor Migration Agreements.

  • PSI affiliates share experiences in fair recruitment agreements.

  • Genevieve Gencianos presents PSI Roadmap for unions on health labor migration and bilateral agreements.

    Check out our Flickr for the photos of the second day of pre-meetings

    Check out our Flickr for the photos of the second day of pre-meetings

    Check out video of the second day of pre-meetings on our Youtube

    Check out video of the second day of pre-meetings on our Youtube

LGBT Forum

Forming a rainbow alliance

How can we establish trade unions that are both inclusive and welcoming? The LGBT Forum delved into the real-life success stories of unions that have effectively incorporated LGBT+ inclusive policies, practices, organisational structures, and collective bargaining demands.

Minjin Lee, a representative from KPTU in South Korea, shared their achievement of a collective bargaining agreement that removes gender distinctions, ensuring inclusivity for all individuals, regardless of gender. "We consistently adopt a gender-neutral approach and employ a non-binary system in our events. The LGBT group collaborates with numerous companies to negotiate agreements that encompass the interests of all LGBT people."

Participants revealed that many of them are compelled to leave their communities and residences to escape harassment. Their pay and working conditions lag behind those of their peers. One participant passionately stated, "It's time for our voices to be heard, our presence acknowledged, and for people to understand that we are not merely an abstract concept or ideology. We are living beings."

Linda Bogle Mienzer of Bermuda Public Services Union said that LGBT members feel the need to be discreet in their workplaces, in their accommodation, and in society. They have to put up a facade to go to work and try to blend in. But they can better foster change when their presence can be felt.

Peter Mekers from the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions highlighted their efforts to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion within their union. They actively engage with LGBTQ+ workers, instilling confidence in their participation and advocating for their rights. This persistent advocacy has yielded results. For instance, IKEA in the Netherlands now provides paid leave for individuals undergoing gender transition, and is considering offering the same benefits in other countries too.

Deiby Porras Arias of the National Association of Public and Private Employees of Costa Rica urged trade unions to invest in LGBTQI+rights.  The union has developed a multilingual manual for creating inclusive spaces, and offering guidance on preventing violence and harassment. An intersectional approach has proven effective, such as forming alliances with women's groups and marginalised communities.

Mira Fey from the Geneva office of Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung has researched LGBTQI+ rights, and found a wide range of commitment from unions worldwide. While some unions, like PSI, embarked on this journey two decades ago, others have only recently started. The gender composition of unions seems to play a pivotal role, with greater female representation correlating with higher levels of inclusion. According to the research, best practices encompass educational training at both internal and affiliate levels, the formulation of resolutions, motions, and policies, the integration of LGBTQI+ concerns into collective bargaining, fostering open dialogues, and active engagement with youth, women, and other minority groups.

Workers united against the backlash

The anti-LGBT+ backlash is a measure of our success in the fight for equality, but it continues to be a very real menace that has even crept into our workplaces, threatening working class solidarity.

Malin Ragnegård, president of the Swedish Trade Union, Kommunal, denounced the right-wing agenda that threatens the lives of LGBT people, saying, “In Sweden, we have a conservative government and they have been pretty clear about LGBT rights. Transgender people have received death threats and transphobia is increasing in the crime statistics in Sweden. As municipal workers, what we try to do is make this visible.”

Solange Caetano from Brazil’s  National Federation of Nurses testified that while Bolsonaro's extreme right-wing government was in power, the LGBT+ community suffered from uncertainty and threats.

Salvatore Marra, CGIL, Italy, stated “We have to act! We need to unite around the trade union values of solidarity and bring people together without discrimination,” while Cristina Faciaben, CC.OO, Spain, said that trade unions are indispensable agents in the fight against the extreme right in the world.