31 May 2007

Labour leadership: UNISON nominates Brown and Johnson

The UNISON Labour Link (political committee) today voted unanimously to nominate Gordon Brown MP as Labour Party leader.

The committee nominated Alan Johnson MP for Deputy Leader of the party. It will also recommend that UNISON members give their second preference votes to Peter Hain MP.

UNISON is the largest public sector union in the UK with over 1.3m members.

Partnership in Power??

Use your vote wisely! Vote Peter Hain!

The Race for Deputy Leadership - Peter Hain gets the most TU nominations

The race is on and the deadline for supporting nominations for the position of Leader and Deputy Leader is 12.30pm on Friday 1st June. The nomination for Leader of course is merely a message of support but for Deputy it is more crucial. Each Labour Member of the European Parliament, Constituency Labour Party and affiliated organisation may cast a supporting nomination for one of candidates for the position of Deputy Leader. These nominations, once received, will continue to be posted on the candidates' pages of Labour's leadership website.

I went along to my local CLP (Preston) nominating meeting tonight and after good debate about the merits of all the candidates, we voted to support Peter hain for deputy in recognition of his proven record of diplomacy, getting a job done and fighting injustice. It was felt that we need a deputy leader who is in touch with the people and the policies and that Peter can deliver on both.

Some of the trade unions have already declared who they are supporting for leadership. UNISON's Labour Link Committee will be meeting on 31st May 2007 to decide who they will be supporting (if any).

Trade Union Deputy Leader Supporting Nominations

Amicus Jon Cruddas
ASLEF Peter Hain
BECTU Will Not Make A Nomination
BFAWU Peter Hain
Community Will Not Make A Nomination
CWU Alan Johnson
GMB Will Not Make A Nomination
Musician's Union Will Not Make A Nomination
NACODS Will Not Make A Nomination
NUM Peter Hain
TGWU Jon Cruddas
TSSA Peter Hain
UCATT Peter Hain
UNISON Alan Johnson
UNITY Hilary Benn
USDAW Hazel Blears

unions together website.

28 May 2007


The Labour Campaign for Lesbian and Gay Rights (LCLGR) held it's AGM on Saturday 26th May 2007 at UNISON, Mabledon Place, London.

The meeting was groundbreaking as the campaign decided to change its name to LGBT.Labour. It will retain a longer name for formality and clarification - The Labour Campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights.

Members also agreed to submit a rule change to Labour Party Conference 2008 to include gender identity in the anti-discrimination rules. Members voted on policy on transgender equality rights in the area of goods, facilities and services and decided that this was a priority campaign.

Elections took place and I was elected as Women's officer and craig was re-elected as TU Officer.

It was well attended with FCO Minister, the Right Honourable Ian McCartney as the guest speaker. He spoke passionately about the work of the Government at home and abroad on LGBT rights and challenging abuses of LGBT human rights abuses. He said that Government lawyers are currently looking at the Yogyakarta principles and hope to produce a position paper in the near future. He was asked about the Discrimination
(Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958
(No. 111)
as the european regional ILO is due to meet in Geneva on June 12th 2007. Ian said this would come within the work of DWP but he would contact them to discuss this. He had not seen anything published in respect of goods, facilities and services protection on the grounds of gender identity and also promised to look into this. Ian has always been a friend to the lgbt lobby and we look forward to working with him further.

it was an excellent meeting and showed that LGBT.Labour is moving on up.

Coming Out for Hain

As Craig has already declared his allegiance, it's time I did too. I will be supporting Peter Hain for Deputy Leader because of his history of challenging injustice, his ability to get a job done, his track record of campaigning for human rights and his commitment to equality and the trade union movement. Peter's work in the anti-apartheid movement speaks for itself. He has campaigned about human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and the blood diamond trade. His swift and thorough introduction of the GFS regulations in Northern Ireland is also symbolic of his commitment to injustice. The regulations had minimum exemptions and included specific provision for harassment providing protection for lgb people in good, facilities and services. This paved the way for the rest of the UK. He has now publicly spoken out against the attacks on freedom of assembly in Eastern Europe following the recent abominant events in Moscow. See Pink News.

If his track record and his word is anything to go by, then he will be a great deputy leader and gets my pink vote.

16 May 2007

Nurses win sexual orientation discrimination case

An employment tribunal has awarded a record but undisclosed payout (although thought to be between £350,000 and £500,000) to two women, Margaret Durman and Penny Smith from Cornwall who they found were unfairly dismissed on grounds of their sexual orientation. Both were employed as nurses in a care centre run by Barchester Healthcare and were dismissed in September 2005 with the company claiming gross misconduct after allegations of physical and sexual abuse of patients were made.
The tribunal found there was no evidence to back up the allegations against them, that a proper investigation would have cleared them and that they had been the victims of sexual orientation discrimination.

The tribunal report stated rhat "It is hard to see how any dismissal, conducted by an employer of such size, could be so very bad unless sexual orientation discrimination was the root cause of it. We are not satisfied that a heterosexual couple would have been treated the same."

Miss Durman and Miss Smith had been together for a year when they were sacked from Kernow House care home in Launceston in September 2005. Miss Durman, a registered nurse for 35 years, had been manager of the home since 2001 and both had exemplary records. Following their dismissal, however, they were put on the Protection of Vulnerable Adults list, which meant they could no longer work as nurses.
They have since been removed from the list. However the effect that this has had on their lives, careers and families will have been devastating.

Barchester Healthcare, which looks after 100,000 peoplenationwide, said its procedures had been reviewed in light of the tribunal findings. A spokesperson was reported in the press as having stated "The sexual orientation of its staff is of no interest to Barchester. However, I could not find anything relating to equality policies in employment on their website.

Barchester Healthcare was named as one of the top 100 companies in the Sunday Times in 2006 but showed a 24% turnover in staff and is named as beong a front runner in good practice in the recruitment and retention of older staff. Obviously it seems if you are open about your sexuality!