The coronavirus crisis has once again highlighted the need for joint, international action to address crises and the importance of solidarity between countries.
The current situation of LGBTI workers has been increasingly affected and weakened by various crises: the economic crisis in recent years, far-right movements that attack LGBTI rights across Europe, austerity policies promoted by the EU and which also affect working and unemployed LGBTI people.
LGBTI workers suffer intersectional discrimination: for our working-class position and for our “sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression sexual identity or sexual orientation, among other factors. Addressing these problems requires international solidarity, something that the labour movement has already taught us for many years. This solidarity must understand that LGBTI people are part of the labour movement and political parties and that our demands must be on the agenda of the parties, transnationally.
Together against crises
The future faces several interrelated crises: the environmental crisis, the crisis of violence against women, the crisis of capitalism, the migration crisis. A better future requires a paradigm shift where capitalism is not the only way to organize life, work and economy. The future must be organised around the needs and well-being of all citizens.
Improving the working conditions of LGBTI people means being able to come out of the closet at the workplace, an inclusive and non-homophobic work environment, recognition of sexual and gender diversity, having visible LGBTI references in working life and in unions, decent wages, strong public services in health, education and housing that are inclusive for LGBTI people.
The reality today is far from that: many LGBTI people face exclusion due to perpetual discrimination. Labour policies must take this reality into account, especially that of transgender, who suffer from high rates of unemployment and discrimination across Europe. Our governments have to be a bolt and harness the potential of diversity and knowledge that LGBTI people bring into work environments.
Trade Union and political parties need to support LGBTI rights because they are human rights. Unions have a special responsibility because access to work and working conditions are crucial issues in life and areas in which many LGBTI people still face discrimination and exclusion. Unions and European political parties should support LGBTI rights not only because is a question of human rights, but because many workers are LGBTI. And for the same reason, LGBTI working people should support labour rights, ETUC member unions and European political parties. We are not different groups of people.
International Action Alert
LGBTI people are a movement of survivors, a movement that is crossed by the class struggle. Improving the living and working conditions of LGBTI people needs an international approach.
Different progressive forces of the civil society, the parties of the European Left and member unions of the ETUC can provide innovative solutions by understanding that the aforementioned crises are related to each other: capitalism destroys the environment, regulates bodies and sexualities, exploits racial and sexual minorities, promotes wars internationally that a, in turn, generate migratory movements that affect Europe, including LGBTI migrants. This complex vision is fundamental for creating a better future, for good jobs for all and for acceptance of diversity everywhere.
This solidarity is much stronger and more effective when we are coordinated among countries. The current economic system is global. Therefore, the response to that system must be international. That is why we propose an international action alert to change the current situation that exploits the LGBTI workers. A better future for progressive new role models that are inclusive, class-conscious feminist, sexually and racially diverse and worker focused.
Today we call for:
The full transposition and implementation of the existing Directives, which trade unions monitor, support and promote, in Europe;
Finally approve the “horizontal directive”, thus complementing the existing EU legislative framework
Stress the importance of awareness-raising, formal and informal education and training initiatives, exchange of good practices on LGBTI civil and labour rights for social partners at all levels
Active support to social partner involvement and collective bargaining as vital tools for affirming LGBTI rights in all possible spheres of private, family, social and working life.
European Left (EL) LGBTI Working Group
Red Rainbow (SKP)
European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) Working Group on Racism and non- discrimination