Saturday, 3 September 2016

Reading Trades Union Council and Local Unions Celebrate Diversity at Reading Pride

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Patron of Reading Pride,
Unite member and delegate to the RTUC
The Reading Trades Union Council made a presence at the Thirteenth Reading Pride festival at Kings Meadow on 3 September, joining the stalls of local unions: Unite, Unison, GMB and NASUWT. RTUC delegates, Cllr Sarah Hacker (Unite member and Patron of Reading Pride), Jan Bastable (Unite and President of RTUC) and John Partington (TSSA and RTUC Communications Officer) took pride in showing solidarity with the LGBT+ community, celebrating diversity and promoting equality.
John Partington (TSSA) and Jan Bastable (Unite) of RTUC
and Mike Dyer (Unite) at the Unite stand

The event had a party atmosphere, with music and other entertainment emanating from the Main Stage, face painting for kids and adults alike, a ‘diverse’ bar and stalls selling party attire. Alongside the fun, however, were educational and informational stands, with the NHS having strong representation covering such areas as sexual health, mental health and ambulance services.

John Partington of RTUC and TSSA at the GMB stand

The trade union presence concentrated on publicising equality and diversity in the workplace, but also addressed broader issues. The Unite stand highlighted the recent derecognition of the union by First Direct and encouraged their visitors to sign a petition of protest. Unison, GMB and NASUWT, as well as Unite, explained to enquirers the role of trade unions in bargaining collectively for improved terms and conditions of employment and setting up transparent processes around recruitment and performance reviewing. Even in workplaces which do not officially recognise trade unions for collective bargaining purposes, the ability of trade unions to represent workers in grievance procedures, covering such issues as unfair treatment, discrimination and bullying, was highlighted – issues which affect virtually all members of staff at some stage during their careers. Especially vulnerable, of course, are marginalised groups fighting against discrimination such as LGBT+ persons, minority ethnic groups, older workers, disabled persons and workers from socially disadvantaged communities. 

John Partington of RTUC and TSSA at the NASUWT stand

Other organisations attended Reading Pride, promoting their messages, such as the University of Reading, the Liberal Democrats and Thames Valley Police. Despite overcast skies and rain during periods of the day – Reading Pride 2016 was a great success and an event RTUC will happily engage with in the years ahead.

John Partington of RTUC and TSSA at the Unison stand