Not an optional extra

Fighting harassment is a must

Reading time: 3 min

In a motion about sexual harassment in the workplace Unite delegate Jane Stewart, spoke for Unite.

She said, “Conference, the outcome from this motion must be action taken, and progress achieved.

We have passed motions before.

“This motion from Women’s Conference sets out concrete steps that should be taken when this motion is passed in tackling sexual harassment in our movement and in our workplaces to make us better and more effective at tackling sexual harassment in society.

“It requires leadership – and for it to be a leadership priority. Not something that is discussed every so often when we pass these motions.

“I see our younger women activists coming through and building on the foundations that myself and other trade unionists have laid – and I see their impatience at the need to tackle sexual harassment.

“And I feel my frustration that we still have so much progress to make – as the excellent TUC research mentioned in this motion makes clear. It’s quite stark how little progress has made.

“The terrible cases in the labour movement, institutionalised misogyny in the police force. The objectification of women must end.

“I look at Spain and I see how women’s achievements in winning the world cup was immediately undercut by an act of sexual harassment towards Jenni Hermoso. An act that has become a catalyst for an outpouring of women’s anger, demand and drive in Spain for wider change.

“If our movement is going to keep growing, keep organising and winning on the scale we need to meet the enormous challenges that face us in the coming years and decades we need to ensure young women workers are welcomed and we are winning on the issues that matter to them.

“One of those crucial issues is tackling sexual harassment – it is not an optional extra.

“We need to be taking action, making progress and winning change now – us as trade unions have to be part of the catalyst for change in this country,” she concluded.

By Amanda Campbell

Pic by Mark Thomas