Now that there is a focus on LGBT+ rights within the CGU, a number of GUFs have established their own campaigns for promoting LGBT+ rights among their affiliates.
Here are some notable examples of what other GUFs are doing:
IUF has a successful working group with 15 members that meets regularly to discuss best practice;
UNIGlobal has kick-started their LGBT+ campaign with a view to having an LGBT+ conference at the end of this year;
ITF has an informal LGBT+ network within their aviation sector.
As PSI is leading the project for the CGU LGBT+ working group, we should also be looking at our own structures and affiliates to build solidarity for the project. We also need to help those affiliates who might be struggling with the question of how to build LGBT+ rights within their union structures and in the workplaces they represent.
This proposal will outline some of the steps PSI could take to support our affiliates when it comes to campaigning for LGBT+ rights.
Increase LGBT+ issues visibility inside PSI to raise awareness of the importance of these issues amongst our affiliates
Build greater affiliate involvement and say in PSI LGBT+ work to ensure our work reflects the needs in affiliated unions
Strengthen PSI and its affiliates by increasing inclusivity in our work and helping affiliates to be more inclusive
Build solidarity between LGBT+ workers and the broader union movement to make progress in achieving LGBT+ identified objectives within unions and the workplace
Introduction of PSI LGBT+ working group
With other Global Unions now setting up or looking to set up their own LGBT+ working groups, an informal working group at PSI is needed. This will help strengthen ties between our LGBT+ members, create international solidarity and allow space for affiliates who aren’t doing much for LGBT+ to learn from affiliates like UNISON, CUPE and FNV who have extensive LGBT+ policies and structures.
The rest of this plan is dependent on the working group leading on the following strategies. At the end of the first stages of this campaign, the aim is to have built an affiliate-led campaign that will engage our members, build LGBT+ equalities in workplaces and set the direction of future PSI work in this area.
For the moment the working group would simply be a group of affiliates that can help advise on the CGU LGBT+ campaign, give guidance to the LGBT+ campaigner and identify where we could make the most impact in terms of our affiliates. Once the work is more established, the model of self-organising may evolve to meet the needs of the work.
LGBT+ Bargaining standard/log of claims
A couple of GUFs are now working on their own bargaining policy for LGBT+ rights. However, there are no examples of the bargaining standard being put into practice or being anything other than a guide. PSI should aspire to have a bargaining standard that affiliates actually use and adapt to their contexts.
From the feedback received from affiliates, a single bargaining standard will be useful to some of our affiliates who have not devised an LGBT+ bargaining standard of their own. It will help their capacity to negotiate and collectively represent LGBT+ members, but also promote open and inclusive workplaces.
It will have to be a generalised “checklist”, given that unions will be operating in differing contexts where there are wide disparities in LGBT+ rights.
The aim is to have targeted two affiliates that have expressed interest in building LGBT+ rights to use this standard to negotiate with an employer by the end of 2020.
Helping create LGBT+ structures within affiliates
Having an LGBT+ structure in unions is important because it gives the specific needs of LGBT+ workers a voice. We have many positive examples from our affiliates on how having LGBT+ spaces as part of the union’s structures has helped transform lives and workplaces and helped to stop LGBT+ discrimination and intolerance.
We have three types of affiliates when it comes to building LGBT+ right at the workplace:
Those that don’t need our help because they have structures and LGBT+ policies. These affiliates, like UNISON, CUPE and FNV, are an important part of the strategy as they will help guide our work and potentially provide support and resources to build international solidarity and assist affiliates on the best avenues to set up structures with different affiliates.
Affiliates who wish to engage and need assistance to establish formal policies or structures. These are the affiliates we could help most and who are the direct target of this strategy.
Affiliates who will not engage on this issue. It is the aim of this strategy to increase visibility of these issues within PSI to encourage as many of these affiliates to question whether they need to do more.
It is key to look at ways PSI and the first type of affiliates can help build structures within the second group of affiliates. By providing solidarity and assistance to those affiliates that need it most, PSI can have a long-lasting impact at local level.
There are two levels to this strategy: training PSI staff on LGBT+ issues to ensure that each policy area has an LGBT+ element to it and training PSI affiliates on how to be more LGBT+ inclusive. This can be further fleshed out by the WG when the needs of the affiliates have been assessed further and could also integrate other groups within PSI’s structure including women and young workers.
Overarching campaign to make public services more LGBT+ inclusive
This strategy fits right into the PSI goal of creating quality public services. As the international federation for public services, we must focus our LGBT+ work on how we can make public services and administrations more inclusive and non-discriminatory, with a view to targeting specific countries/affiliates. It will be guided by the working group, who will use its expertise to identify where affiliates need the most assistance and use their knowledge of what campaigns and strategies have worked in their own countries to make public services more inclusive. Central to this strategy is that we cannot have an inclusive public service without having inclusive workplaces. By focusing on creating inclusive public service workplaces we will reinforce the necessity of having LGBT+ accessible public services.
This strategy will involve a pilot programme with one of our affiliates to target public services within that country to become more LGBT+ inclusive. Depending on the country, this could be anything from reviewing public administration procedures to ensuring that there is no discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to working with the government to ensure safe spaces for LGBT+ people when accessing public services. The beginning of this engagement could be the bargaining standards to improve the rights of LGBT+ public service workers and then taking it to the next level with looking at how to improve services for LGBT+ users.
A focus needs to be placed on international institutions where PSI has an advocacy role, like the ILO, OECD, WHO and the UN, to ensure LGBT+ workers’ rights become more visible and a recognition of accessible and inclusive public services. There is currently very little being done in the way of LGBT+ workers at the ILO, and this is an opportunity for PSI to lobby and show solidarity with other organisations seeking more recognition for LGBT+ workers at this level.
Objectives – until the next PSI Congress
At least 20 affiliates actively supporting this strategy
At least 15 participants in the PSI LGBT+ working group
At least 3 affiliates that use the bargaining standard with employers
2 affiliates building LGBT+ rights into their structures
PSI to building LGBT+ rights in our structures
At least 3 affiliates wanting to fund further work on the LGBT+ project
By the next PSI Congress in 2022, there should be a functioning working group advising on the best use of the pre-conference time that we have for LGBT+ discussion. From reports from our affiliates, previous years have been a bit of a missed opportunity. With greater input from our affiliates, we can start the work now of building towards a pre-conference event that will be useful and inspiring to our affiliates.