A fringe event organised in the frame of the ETF 2017 congress focused on the discrimination LGBTI people in Europe still face in hiring or career development. In some countries they do not have access to family related leave or are denied dependents’ benefits and pension arrangements.
ETF is committed to defend human rights and equality for all workers, including respect and dignity for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trans-gender and intersexual workers (LGBTI) and pursues eradication of all forms of discrimination and harassment at the workplace.
The fringe meeting informed the participants about the existing legal framework the EU provides to protect workers against such forms of discrimination: the Framework Directive on Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation (2000/78/EC) covering the ground of sexual orientation and the Directive on the principle of equal treatment of men and women in employment (2006/54/EC) which prohibits discrimination against trans-genders.
The speakers at the meeting said: “It is important to raise awareness among the ETF affiliates that sexual orientation is one of the non-discrimination grounds recognised in the EU legislation. We have to stress the importance of making mentalities evolve by fighting prejudices and moral judgment.”
Much more needs to be done as equality for LGBTI people who work in the transport sector cannot be achieved exclusively through legislation and sanctions against individual cases of discrimination. Also important is the definition of a trade union strategy including LGBTI-specific policies and exchange of best practices so as to achieve full equality and diversity management. That is why the ETF has opted to carry out work in this field starting with a review of if and how ETF affiliates have been addressing the issue at stake.
In their response to a questionnaire circulated in 2014, several ETF affiliates reported that they have established good practices in LGBTI work including awareness raising, guidelines for collective bargaining, confidential reporting systems, tackling harassment by service users, family friendly and work/life balance policies, networks, work on HIV/AIDS and similar.
ETF will initiate an online network (with a possibility for face-to-face meetings) to exchange on the transport-specific aspects of LGBTI work with the aim to identify best practices from the affiliates’ experience and develop ETF guidelines on this subject. This will be done under the overall principles of anti-discrimination and in close cooperation with the Women’s and Youth Committee.