Equality & Inclusion

               

GMB has been at the forefront of the fight for equality within trade unions, at the workplace and within society for many years. Women make up 50 per cent of our members. We have had structural arrangements for women since 1980. Our equal rights structure also covers discrimination on the grounds of disability, age and sexual orientation and equality issues for men. National and regional equality & inclusion forums advise on GMB equal rights policy and liaise with the Central Executive Committee. They advise on recruitment and participation within GMB at all levels of women and other groups which experience discrimination. The national equalities & inclusion officer, Kameljeet Jandu, acts as secretary to the national forum. GMB remains one of the few unions to have reserved seats for women at both Central Executive Council and Regional Council levels. GMB sends full delegations to the Wales TUC and Labour Party Women’s Conferences and the TUC Lesbian and Gay Conference. A reserved seat for Lesbian and Gay workers on the TUC General Council was set up in 2001.

PUTTING EQUALITY ON THE AGENDA

We aim to put equal rights, and in particular equal pay and developments on the family friendly agenda, at the top of the negotiating agenda and continue our groundbreaking campaign on domestic violence as a work place issue. Courses for representatives on equal pay and the work of the Equal Pay Task Force are arranged by the GMB and the TUC. GMB produces negotiators guides on a wide range of equality issues. These include negotiating equal opportunities agreements, tackling harassment, equality audits, flexible working and the Family Charter. Regular equality briefings are posted on the GMB website. Equality seminars, focusing on the equality bargaining agenda are available to all regions from Kameljeet Jandu. Training for branches and branch equality & inclusion officers is available via the Regional Equality Officer, Ruth Bennett, email ruth.bennett@gmb.org.uk

THE VISION

We want GMB to be recognised as the lead trade union in driving equality at work and in our society, while reflecting the make up of our members and potential members at all levels of GMB and unleashing their potential.

Download the 'Equality through Inclusion' PDF document

Marriage and Civil Partnership Discrimination

The conciliation service, Acas, has produced new guidance on how to avoid discrimination on the grounds of marriage and civil partnership in the workplace.
The guide, which is aimed at employers, managers and trade union representatives provides an overview as to how marriage and civil partnership discrimination can occur, how it can be dealt with and how the various parties can reduce the chance of future discrimination.
In particular, the guide points out that:

  • the Equality Act does not require any minimum length of continuous employment, or any employment at all in the case of a job applicant, for a discrimination claim to be made
  • under the Act, discrimination is unlawful at all stages - from when a role is advertised and interviewed for, through to the last day of employment and beyond, including any references
  • discrimination against men on the basis of their marriage status is just as unlawful as discrimination against women
  • an alleged discriminator cannot defend themselves by saying they are married or a civil partner, or that their actions were because of their religious or other beliefs
  • in certain circumstances, people who are married or in a civil partnership are still protected from marriage and civil partnership discrimination if one or both people in the relationship are changing their gender
  • The guide therefore recommends that employers should have policies in place which are designed to prevent discrimination in recruitment and selection; pay and terms and conditions of employment; promotion opportunities; training and development; dismissal; and selection for redundancy.
  • However, it also makes clear that employers may be able to justify different terms and conditions if there is an important factor or factors not related to marriage or civil partnership, or, for example, the employee's sex. For instance, these factors might include job experience, qualifications and where the job is based geographically.
  • The guide also sets out how employees should raise complaints of discrimination and how, in turn, employers should handle them.
  • Gerard Airey of Thompsons Solicitors said: “It is positive that ACAS have turned their attention to producing guidance on this area of discrimination. There are not many cases asserting that this type of discrimination has taken place, so it is useful that this guidance has been produced to draw attention to these rights

Bulletins & Briefings