Received from: TUC Women's Conference
In recent years, the scale and extent of sexual harassment has been thrown into sharp focus.
Congress recognises the excellent work carried out the TUC to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace and beyond, including the 2016 report Still Just a Bit of Banter. The TUC’s own research exposed just how persistent and widespread sexual harassment is in the workplace and the role of misogyny and sexism in enabling it.
In doing so, Congress recognises that the eradication sexual harassment in society and workplaces must include trade unions, both as democratic membership bodies and as employers. Congress congratulates the TUC on their work in this area supporting and encouraging affiliates to develop internal and member facing policies and practices.
Congress recognises that unions are crucial to defending women’s rights and acknowledges the vital role reps play in encouraging women to report harassment; ensuring appropriate action is taken when women do speak out; and campaigning on the issue in the workplace.
In March 2021, the TUC established an executive working group to examine how we can work together to ensure that we have our own house in order and to provide the tools to make positive change.
Congress welcomes the Congress report on tackling and preventing sexual harassment, This report outlines the progress made by the working group and sets out a number of recommendations.
Congress therefore commends the action by the TUC Executive Committee sexual harassment working group in:
i. conducting a survey of unions about the work being done to tackle and prevent sexual harassment for members and as employers for their staff
ii. sharing legal advice and resources
iii. developing opportunities for training for the senior leadership within our movement
iv. launching a pilot training programme.
In response to the survey, nearly half of affiliates said they were already developing or progressing a programme of work to tackle, respond to and prevent sexual harassment and the majority said their planned or ongoing work sought to include employees, members, paid officials, lay representatives and governing structures
Sexual harassment is still a major problem and although good work has been done to highlight issues and in providing education and training, more is needed.
It is essential that we continue working to achieve a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment in all workplaces and to build cultures and practices that prevent sexual harassment.
Congress calls on the TUC to ensure that the working group continues this vital work and in doing so:
a. support the work affiliates are doing with employers to address sexual harassment;
b. encourage unions to examine their own internal policies and procedures to ensure they are equipped to prevent and respond to sexual harassment within their organisations; and
c. explore the possibility of tabling sexual harassment as a standing agenda item at meetings of the TUC General and Executive Councils, to reflect the role leadership can play in tackling and preventing it.
d. press government for the implementation of a preventative duty and a statutory code of practice.
e. implements the recommendations of the 2022 report
f. monitors the progress of affiliates in addressing sexual harassment
g. recognises that sexual harassment is intersectional
h. reports on progress to the 2024 Women’s Conference
i. provides adequate resource to properly facilitate the continued work of the group
j. to conduct a follow up survey of unions in mid-2023 to monitor progress and to determine priorities for further action.
TUC Women’s Conference