As ever, we had some very productive discussions at our latest #TimesUpNotts meetings hosted here at the Centre.
Since we last met in February, we’ve been able to make contact with a number of female trade unionists who are really enthusiastic about working with us to protect their members against sexual harassment. Together we discussed the elements of sexual harassment that makes it so difficult to tackle and thought about how we might solve these issues, for example how we can protect our employees from the inappropriate behaviour of clients, and help younger women in particular.
It was suggested that trade unions have more of an input into company inductions, focusing particularly on appropriate behaviour at work and what to do if this code is breached. For union representatives to be leading some of this, it is important that they too have training into the right sort of language to be using in the workplace.
We also agreed that it would be useful to provide staff with opportunities for conversations at work to reveal issues informally and tackle them collectively rather than having to take up a harassment case as an individual. Those experiencing sexual harassment might also find it useful if there were posters around the workplace outlining who to contact and what to do when an incident occurs e.g. take notes on what happened.
In terms of how unions can help, we’ve been reviewing the success of Transport Salaried Staff’s Association’s partnership with the Stonewall bystander campaign, which encouraged people to stand up against LGBT discrimination in the workplace by pledging not to be a bystander. The Transport Salaried Staff’s Association (TSSA) have also produced a really useful leaflet on Sexual Harassment at work which companies may find useful to circulate internally. This can be accessed through the following link: TSSA leaflet- Sexual Harassment
During the course of the meeting we also identified some other useful resources providing an insight into sexual harassment at work and recommendations of how to tackle the issue, which can be found below:
- TUC ‘Still just a bit of banter?’ – a report outlining what constitutes sexual harassment, quantitative analysis of those affected and recommendations for employers, unions and the government to follow.
- The Labour Research Department’s guide ‘Tackling Sexual Harassment at Work’ – specifically for union representatives, but containing more useful information on the scale of sexual harassment.
We all left the meeting feeling hopeful, despite having a little homework to do for the next meeting (we’ve got lots planned, and are even discussing an awareness-raising event some time in October)!
If you’re interested in joining us next time get in touch by emailing [email protected]. Please be assured you do not need to come representing your company and can remain anonymous if you don’t want your involvement to become public.