News

Prospect Conference 2022 reaffirms union’s commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

12 June 2022

Prospect has reiterated its commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) with a wide-ranging debate at its National Conference 2022 in Bournemouth.

Freddie Brown speaking at National Conference 2022

Prospect has always thought that combating discrimination at work is one of the most important issues we deal with as a union. It is the issue our reps end up dealing with more than perhaps any other except pay.

What is clear from the enlightening discussion is that workplaces, even good ones, are still far from clear of sexism, racism, age discrimination and other forms of discrimination. Reps need and welcome training so that they can deal with cases in a sensitive and knowledgeable way.

Freddie Brown, moving the NEC’s motion on EDI during the debate, said:

“Women, ethnic minorities, disabled and underrepresented workers continue to face systemic barriers to equality in hiring pay and contractual terms … Are still more likely to face harassment or other unfavourable treatment at work.

“It is still clear, certainly to me, that something needs to change and Prospect and the rest of the trade union movement has a key role to play in challenging discriminatory and unequal business practice.”

The government and other employers have even attempted to dilute efforts to address discrimination, which undermines legitimate EDI work. This includes putting political pressure on employers like the BBC and National Trust to dilute their work on race equality; Ministerial attempts to weaken civil service equality networks; and challenges over LGBT+ equality. The gender pay gap persists at 16.1% and the gender pension gap is 37.9%.

EDI actions agreed at Conference included:

  • Prospect providing training for reps and members,
  • Reviewing the role out of the EDI Strategy and Race Action Plan,
  • Encouraging underrepresented groups to engage in active union participation.

Senior Deputy General Secretary of Prospect Sue Ferns said:

“This is such an important area for us and the labour movement in general so I’m pleased that conference agreed for it to continue being a major priority for us.

“The bottom line is that any workplace has the potential to throw up issues around race, gender, religion, age or sexual preference and your union should be the first point of call for you when you encounter negative behaviours.

“It’s through working with unions that employers can stamp out discrimination. Dealing with issues when they present at even a low level prevents them from festering.”


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