#16Days: Unions push for “rainbow workplaces,” gender-fair climate response

In its effort to further promote gender equality amidst a fast changing world of work, BWI, in its 5th World Congress last October 2022, passed key resolutions that promote the rights of LGBTIQ workers, and embed the principles of gender equality in just transition and green economic plans to address the climate crisis.

In a resolution submitted by FNV, BWI’s trade unions are asked to build “rainbow workplaces” by giving no quarter to gender-based discrimination and incorporating non-discriminatory clauses into their own policies, as well as the employers.  

Trade union affiliates are also encouraged to lobby their national governments to demand the passage of measures that protect LGBTIQ workers from discrimination and harassment and the abolition of penal codes where they are treated differently to heterosexuals. 

According to the latest European Union Agency for fundamental rights LGBTI report , one in four (26 percent) respondents hide being LGBTIQ at work. 21 percent felt discriminated against at work in the year before the survey. 10 percent felt discriminated against when looking for work. Significantly higher shares of trans (35 percent) and intersex respondents (32 percent) felt discriminated at work. 

UN1A and IG BAU, meanwhile, endorsed a resolution calling for the integration of gender equality in a just transition to a green and sustainable future. The unions also called for more formal and transparent recruitment practices and advocated for gender equality targets and monitoring and reporting mechanisms to track the achievement of these targets.

Citing BWI’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) with C40, a network of city mayors addressing climate change, the unions called for the inclusion of gender equality targets in the clean construction programs which the network will be developing. 

UN1A and IG BAU asserted that the global construction industry must shift towards a more sustainable future by promoting a process of a just green transition centred on job creation, decent work and social security measures. In the said process, women represent a large potential labour force that could be interested in and trained to work in the construction industry, especially in a perspective that employment in the industry could contribute to climate change solutions. 

BWI is publicly sharing the said resolutions as the global labour movement marks this year’s 16 Days of Trade Union Activism on Violence against Women. The global union hopes that more policies, similar to its recently passed gender equality resolutions, will be adopted by other global unions and federations to make workplaces and homes safe spaces for women workers. BWI said that the culture of sexism, gender-based violence and discrimination, as well as the climate crisis, contribute to the continuing precarity of the world of work. 

Download the resolutions: Gender Equality & Climate Change   Rainbow Workplaces