Unite delegate Maggie Ryan spoke today (September 24) at the Labour Party conference in a work, pensions and equality debate about the crucial role equality reps play in the workplace and the need for them to have statutory rights.
Calling for “proper facility time,” Maggie, an equality rep, said that without statutory rights, she is forced to “do things on the run.”
“Put simply you just can’t give members the full service that they deserve,” she said. “We need to ensure that they have the time they need to protect workers from discrimination.”
Maggie hailed the historic women’s conference on Saturday (September 22) which highlighted the growing problem of sexual harassment.
“Our members are constantly fighting for their rights in the face of some hostile employers,” she said. “The flood of disclosures – from Hollywood to the Houses of Parliament – has recently illustrated the enormous scale of the problem across all sectors in work and out.
“Over half of all women including two-thirds of young women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace,” Maggie added.
She said that Unite is leading the way in tackling sexual harassment with equality reps playing a vital role.
“I am proud that Unite’s equality policies were in Labour’s radical manifesto – a manifesto which represented hope, belief and optimism.
“This means that under a Labour government equality reps will no longer have second class rights and will have time to protect the people they represent.”
“Unite will be fighting all out for an early general election and a Labour victory that can achieve the manifesto’s 20-point commitments for security and equality at work,” Maggie went on to say. “It will be this that will really transform our society.”