Trade unions stand in solidarity with LGBTIQ workers

On 17 May, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the ITUC stands in solidarity with LGBTIQ workers, reaffirming its commitment to building respect and dignity for all workers, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Despite progress and many achievements, homophobia and transphobia persist in the world of work and in society.

LGBTIQ workers are exposed to many forms of violence, harassment, discrimination and exclusion in society and throughout the employment cycle, including in education and in relation to opportunities for employment and decent work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risks of these workers being trapped in poverty and excluded as they face increased harassment in the world of work and disproportionate job and income loss. Many work in industries and sectors that have been the hardest hit by the pandemic, such as retail, hospitality and tourism.

Unions act to ensure that LGBTIQ workers are protected and can enjoy their rights in law and in practice. Through lobbying and advocacy, unions work to promote education and awareness-raising campaigns, and they also work to endorse inclusive and transformative trade union policies.

Across the world, unions have a long history of solidarity with the LGBTIQ community and are at the forefront of the movement to create safe and inclusive workplaces.

In Southeast Europe, unions focus on the intersection of LGBTIQ rights with the right of workers to safe and healthy workplaces free from violence and harassment. The unions work to strengthen the representation and capacity of LGBTIQ persons in trade unions.

In South Africa, COSATU provides education and awareness raising of LGBTIQ workers’ issues for union members and leaders. It negotiates LGBTIQ worker provisions into collective agreements so that all working people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, receive the same benefits.

The ITUC endorsed the “Global Unions Solidarity Charter - LGBTI Workers”, which enshrines a worldwide commitment to ensure that LGBTIQ workers enjoy their fundamental human rights in society and in the world of work. Today, tomorrow and beyond, trade unions stand in solidarity with LGBTIQ workers.