Labour Research January 2009

Equality news

TUC wants action on trans rights

The TUC has called for employers to stop discriminating against transgender people and has appealed to unions to increase their efforts to secure trans people’s rights.

It says it has worked with transgender union members as well as representatives of the trans community to campaign for Britain’s equality laws to provide comprehensive protection from discrimination for trans people. But it adds that while there have been legal improvements, “there remain gaps and widespread exemptions that leave trans people without full protection”.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Discrimination, hatred and violence are part of the daily lives of far too many in Britain, and employers need to make sure all their employees are working in safe environments free from discrimination.” And he called on unions to “step up campaigning for equality for trans people in the UK”.

The government has said it will introduce an Equality Bill as part of its legislative programme for 2008-09. This will bring together nine existing major pieces of legislation and around 100 other laws in a single Bill.

And Barber said the TUC will be pressing “for complete protection for those people who identify with the opposite gender to the one that they were born” in any new legislation.

At last year’s TUC Congress, Jonathan Baume, general secretary of the FDA public service management union, told delegates in a debate on the Equality Bill that transgender people, in particular, “still face considerable public hostility”.