AMICUS THE UNION
YOUNG MEMBERS CONFERENCE
3RD NOVEMBER 2006
Equality is a central issue for Amicus and we are committed to ending
discrimination at work in all its forms and to bring about equality of both
opportunity and outcome for all our members.
Young members may experience discrimination and lack of opportunities in
the workplace due to stereotypical attitudes about young workers lacking the
commitment and experience to carry out certain roles. They are also at
increased risk of experiencing poor pay and conditions at work. Amicus is
committed to tackling these issues as part of our equality strategy. This has
involved work in all areas of the union across the industrial, political and
Equality for Amicus members is about ensuring all workers have the ability to
fulfil their potential, have fair recognition of the contribution they make and the
right to be treated with dignity and respect at work.
Amicus recognises that the presence of a strong trade union which negotiates
wages and conditions for all workers is the only way to tackle discrimination,
exploitation and low pay suffered by part time, agency and migrant workers.
Amicus’s equality strategy is about organising and recruiting a diverse
membership who are empowered to become work place reps and equality
reps that are enabled to negotiate fairness in the workplace.
Equality of both opportunity and outcome at work will only be achieved by a
collective Amicus organisation that negotiates change in the workplace. The
Amicus equality strategy sets out the negotiating agenda that seeks to tackle
the barriers and discrimination that affect women, younger and older workers
LGBT, black and ethnic minority and disabled workers and the agenda to
promote equality at work.
The Amicus equality strategy then sets out the need for a single equality act
and welfare reform that supports equality in the work place.
The Amicus Equality Strategy finally sets out the global solidarity agenda to
campaign against exploitation and discrimination of workers wherever we live,
in recognition of the global economy and global employers.
Consultation is currently being carried out at meetings of all committees who
are being requested to develop their own action plan for implementation of the
overall strategy with particular relevance to their sector or region.
Much has been achieved over the last two years with the hard work and
support of the national young members committee, shop stewards,
representatives, officers and staff. An over view of the work carried out in
relation to young members is detailed in this report.
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Linda McCulloch supported the union’s work on equalities until September
2005 when the NEC reallocated responsibility for equality to Siobhan Endean.
The NEC would like to thank Linda for her hard work in this area.
Women and Equality Structures
A consultation document has been drafted which will form the basis of the
Amicus and T&G consultation on equality structures for the new union. The
document contains a proposal for Equality representatives in the new rule
book as well as proposals for gender and ethnic proportionality on all lay
member committees and women and Equalities Structures that largely reflect
the Amicus women and equality structures.
The Amicus equalities strategy will provide the foundation to support the
principle that has been agreed that equality will be at the heart of the new
union with equality reps in every work place.
There were a number of rule changes at the 2005 policy conference which
have now been implemented. The rule changes amended the equality
structures to introduce regional equality committees and alter the election of
the national equality committees. These Equality forums took place between
March and May 2006 and elected the regional and national committees as
well as delegates to the Regional Councils.
Amicus organises a young members’ course each year, this year the
education course was attended by 15 young members from a range of
industrial backgrounds, as well as discovering how to become active in the
union, the course develops team building skills through outward bounds
activities. Details of next year’s course will be published shortly and can be
found on the young members’ page of the web site.
Young members’ Network
The young members’ network is publicised through the Amicus Website.
Young members can sign up to become part of the campaigning network and
also to receive the E–Equalities bulletin.
Organising and recruitment
The Amicus student recruitment campaign was launched in 2005. A student
recruitment pack was developed and published as an aid for Amicus
representatives to recruit student members. The fixed £10 annual
subscription has encouraged many students to join and it allows them to get
assistance on work related issues if they are working part-time whilst
studying. Amicus has also attended student “Fresher Fairs” in some
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universities and has developed good working links with the National Union of
Students, Labour Students and the Socialist Students groups.
Amicus attended the Glastonbury Festival in 2005 with the aim of spreading
the word on union solidarity to festival goers and make them aware of Amicus
with the aim of increasing our young membership. This included debates and
exhibitions themed around Make Poverty Industry. Amicus General
Secretary, Derek Simpson spoke in a debate on the fight against racism. Billy
Bragg, Jerry Dammers from the Specials, comedian Mark Steel and rap artist
SkeMe also contributed to the debate.
In May 2005 Amicus staged a Battle of the Bands competition in Brighton for
young unsigned bands. The competition aimed to highlight to young people
their rights at work and how being a union member can protect them.
Competition winner’s local band Turncoat went on to play Glastonbury’s Left
Field stage as part of their prize. Following the success of this event Amicus
held a national competition this year with regional heats in Glasgow, Leeds,
Manchester, Cardiff, Nottingham and Brighton. The final was held between
six bands in London on 5 July and was won by the Indie five-piece The Jan
Watkins Band from Cardiff.
Amicus has supported Love Music Hate Racism, an organisation which uses
music to fight against racism. Music events are held throughout the country
aimed at uniting young BME and white people. Through our involvement we
aim to make people more aware of the trade union movement, join Amicus
and get involved in our work to tackle racism. We have sponsored “Who shot
the Sheriff?” a documentary film about the role of music in the fight against
fascism, supported a charity concert in Liverpool in October 2005 in memory
of Antony Walker and four music carnivals in Leeds, London, Manchester and
Liverpool aimed at keeping racist organisations out of 2006 local elections.
Recruitment posters have been produced in 2006 around the theme of
“Respect at Work” to publicise the importance of equality and respect at work.
These were produced to make existing members aware of this issue and to
encourage the recruitment of new members.
Negotiating in the workplace
Four new equality negotiators’ guidelines have been launched at the industrial
sector conferences in June 2006 on negotiating on equality policies, work-life
balance, combating racism and combating homophobia. These are designed
as a tool for representatives and shop stewards to use in negotiating and
promoting equality in the workplace.
Equal Pay is a priority campaign for Amicus with the aim of closing the pay
gap not just for women, but also BME and disabled workers. With the
introduction of the age discrimination regulations in October 2006 it will also
be important that equal pay audits are carried out on the basis of age. All
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industrial officers received equal pay training in 2005. The campaign has been
supported by the issue of the Amicus negotiators’ guide on race.
The 1997 Single Status Agreement was aimed at addressing the gender pay
gap. However, progress has been slow with a minority of authorities having
completed moves to local harmonised pay and grading structures, which meet
equal pay criteria. Additionally, there has been slow progress on carrying out
equal pay audits.
Local authorities are now implementing job evaluation, although are still not
on track for the promise of delivery of single status by 31st April 2007.
Amicus is concerned because extra funding has not been given to local
authorities to implement equal pay. This has resulted in unacceptable pay
cuts not only to equalise pay, but also to fund the back pay claims; so
effectively those still in work are paying the price of local authorities’ historic
failure to deliver equal pay. The employment tribunal judgement in the Allan
case in June 2006, where the GMB was found to have indirectly sexually
discriminated and victimised their members Ms Allan and others, has
effectively passed the burden for delivery of equal pay off the shoulders of
employers and on to the shoulders of trade unions. Therefore, while Amicus
remains committed to fighting for equal pay for all of our members we share
the GMB's concern at the implications of this case, and await the outcome of
their appeal with interest.
Amicus is aware that there is an issue with pay discrimination and
occupational segregation in the voluntary sector. A number of organisations
have carried out equal pay audits and are going through job evaluation to
rectify discrepancies. Charitable organisations and Housing Associations tend
to follow local government pay scales, however, there is a move away from
this to market related pay.
Dignity at Work
The Dignity at Work project was launched in October 2005 and is the world’s
largest anti-bullying project. The project is led by Amicus and supported by
the DTI with £1 million worth of funding. Other launch partners include
Connect, Legal and General Insurance, BAe Systems and the Chemical
Industries Association. The aim of the project is to eradicate bullying and
create a culture of respect at work, with unions and employers working in
partnership to promote policies that suit individual workplaces. A website has
been developed which gives advice on how to deal with bullying in the
As part of the new National Agreement for the commercial printing industry,
“Partnership at Work” the Amicus GPM Sector has agreed a new and
comprehensive Dignity at Work agreement with the BPIF, the print employers’
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federation. The new Dignity at Work agreement covers maternity, paternity
and domestic leave, paid time off for cancer screening for all employees and
bullying at work. The Agreement also contains anti-discrimination clauses in
relation to BME, LGBT and disabled workers. At the time of writing this
report the GPM Sector is also in detailed discussions with the Confederation
of Paper Industries and the Scottish Print Employers Federation to reach
similar agreements on Dignity at Work.
The Amicus Financial Services and Community and Not for Profit Sectors are
calling on organisations to sign up to the project. Legal and General are part
of the project steering group and are already signed up to the project. NAG
has also recently signed an agreement with Amicus.
Amicus Equality Award
An Amicus Equality Award was launched in the summer of this year. It is
open to all workplace groups and branches. At the time of writing this report a
short-list is being drawn up at the National Executive Committee.
Equal opportunities training courses have been held in Esher Place and the
regions which aim that shop stewards and representatives become proficient
in the rights of workers and the obligations of employers under equality and
discrimination legislation and to promote equality in the workplace.
Amicus is maintaining its campaign for an increase in the minimum wage and
for the removal of the lower minimum wage rates for 16 to 22 year old
workers. We argued in our response to the Age Discrimination Regulations
consultation that if young people are working and not in full-time education, or
training, then they should be paid the full minimum wage and not a reduced
Amicus is continuing to campaign against the BNP. An Amicus motion to
TUC Congress in 2005 called for the trade union campaign to continue, with
work to be focussed on communities to combat racism and the BNP, whilst
tackling the root causes of poverty and unemployment that allow racism and
support for the BNP to develop. The motion also called for legislation that will
enable unions to deny membership to workers that belong to organisations
with racist policies and practice.
We have supported the representative, Martin Gleeson who was accused of
causing criminal damage to a wreath laid by the BNP in Oldham on Holocaust
Memorial Day in 2005.
Both Searchlight and Stop the BNP were supported by Amicus during the
2006 local election campaign. A number of days of actions took place leading
up to the local elections to campaign against the election of BNP councillors.
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Amicus continues to be involved in the “Show Racism the Red Card”
campaign and distributed posters of the England World Cup Football Team to
all workplaces at the start of the World Cup.
Improving work-life balance and reducing long hours are a key component of
Amicus industrial policy and equality campaigns in the sectors. We continue
to campaign for the removal of the opt-out from and better enforcement of the
Working Time Regulations. Additionally, we are calling on the strengthening
of the flexible working regulations and its extension to all workers. The
Voluntary Sector has produced a set of recruitment material and information
regarding work-life balance, is carrying out a survey and will be holding
seminars in relation to work-life balance.
The Amicus campaign for a single equality act has now resulted in progress
and the Government has set up the Discrimination Law Review to make
recommendations on introducing a single equality act. This is required
because of the lack of coherence and the complexity of current discrimination
legislation. Additionally, the CEHR will find it difficult to function effectively if a
single equality act is not introduced.
We will be responding to the consultation which is expected imminently and
will be calling for the strengthening of the existing legislation, including
compulsory equal pay audits for all employers, statutory equality
representatives, the right for trade unions to take class actions and the duty to
promote equality across all strands and sectors.
The Government committed to support the EU Agency Workers’ Directive and
employment rights for migrant workers in the Warwick Agreement at the
Labour Party Policy Forum in 2004. Since this the agreement on the EU
Agency Workers’ Directive has not progressed and Amicus continues to
campaign for all members states to adopt the Directive. We continue to press
Government to introduce employment rights for migrant workers because of
the exploitation that they are suffering from “gang masters” where they are
paid a low rate of pay and charged exorbitant rents for accommodation.
In May 2006 Amicus launched its “Good Work” campaign and published an
Agenda for Better Jobs. The campaign highlighted the need to consider the
quality of the work experienced by those in employment and argued that
“good work” needs to be at the centre of policy and negotiating agendas. The
Amicus Agenda for Better Jobs identified five key elements that need to be
considered in the pursuit of improving the quality of people’s lives. They are:
A safe and healthy workplace
Control over the working environment
Secure and interesting work (including support for skills and learning)
Fairness and dignity at work
A trade union voice
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As part of the campaign Amicus conducted an on-line survey asking people
how their jobs matched up against these criteria. One of the areas which
respondents said their workplaces fell short on was being treated with fairness
and dignity. However, what was positive was that where there was a trade
union voice in their workplace 63% said that they were being treated with
fairness and dignity, compared with 44% of those without a trade union, which
is a significant difference. It is evidence that trade unions are making a
difference in this key area at work.
Gender and Ethnic Monitoring
Amicus carried out a gender and ethnic monitoring exercise in the all member
magazine in April. The returns for the monitoring exercise were approximately
500 members who updated their details on the membership system.
Additionally, through the My Amicus section of the website it is possible for
Amicus members to update their membership details for monitoring purposes.
A monitoring exercise was carried out with regards to Amicus participation in
the sector conferences in July and a monitoring exercise with regards to
Amicus National Sector Committees and Regional Councils is currently
Amicus has achieved gender proportionality on the National Executive
Committee, Amicus policy and rules conferences 2005 and TUC conference
It is recognised that Amicus’ membership system does not contain adequate
monitoring data to reflect the ethnic origins of our membership and that there
is an ongoing campaign to encourage members to update their information
with regards to monitoring.
The Amicus Equal Rights Website has been developed and now includes
information on equal rights legislation, the equality work being carried out by
Amicus and publications. It provides a useful source of information for
members, representatives and shop stewards, officers and staff. A specific
website has been developed for young members to highlight work being
carried out in this area.
The e-Equality Newsletter, launched in 2006 on International Women’s Day -
8 March 2006, has been well received. This is circulated to the Amicus e-mail
activist database and Amicus Officers. Members can also subscribe to
receive the Newsletter directly.
Equality E-mail networks were set up in July 2006 so that members can
receive regular e-mail up-dates on equality issues and become involved in the
equality agenda. There are five networks consisting of BME, Disabled, LGBT,
Women and Young members.
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Amicus representatives continue to raise equality issues at a European and
Global level through the trade union federation structures in which we are
active. This is not just a question of ensuring that progressive policies are
adopted at the congresses of each federation, but that we also aim to
encourage them to replicate the same campaigns we are pursuing in Amicus
workplaces in the UK and Ireland. For example, Amicus representatives have
been keen to promote equal pay campaigning at a European and Global level.
We have also sought to raise other equalities issues, in particular
discrimination, in these forums.
We have also focused on the industrial agenda in our international equalities
campaigning. We are proactive in negotiating International Framework
Agreements with multi-national employers at a global level to ensure decent
working conditions and the insertion of ant-discrimination clauses into the
HIV/Aids is an important issue and our lay representatives have spoken at the
International Transport Workers Federation Global Congress and that of UNI.
But we have built on this by developing links with unions in Africa. We aim to
use our strengths to work with African unions to develop capacity to tackle
HIV/Aids as a workplace issue. In January, Amicus hosted a significant
Conference on HIV/Aids in partnership with Action for Southern Africa and the
St Stephen's Aids Trust, bringing together employers, clinicians, trade unions
and politicians to explore how we can work better together in the future.
Stephen Lewis, the UN Special Envoy, was our key note speaker and
commended Amicus for taking this important initiative.
Amicus continues to place women at the centre of its international solidarity
programme, giving significant financial aid to Swapol, a national initiative in
Swaziland where the HIV prevalence rate is 46%, founded by a woman trade
unionist to care for and counsel people living with HIV/Aids. Swapol also
trains people living with HIV/Aids to work on income generating projects and
to raise awareness in the workplace and communities about HIV/Aids.
Amicus is proud to support a project which helps women prisoners and their
children in Colombia. We have also funded a training event to counter the
discrimination suffered by the Dhalit community in India. Many Amicus
members have been active in raising awareness about and fund raising for
the Dignity Period! Campaign which has already delivered tampons and
sanitary towels via the Zimbabwean Congress for Trade Unions to the women
in Zimbabwe. Amicus has been supporting the Sahawari people in their
campaign for repatriation and ending the occupation of Western Sahara by
the Moroccan government. The camps run by women for the exiled
Saharawis, demonstrate the resourcefulness of the women to maintain a
society for their people.
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John Walsh was elected to the TUC General Council for the seat reserved for
a young member at the TUC in 2005. John Walsh also chaired the TUC
young members’ conference which was attended by an Amicus delegation.
Amicus made responses to the following Government consultations in relation
to young members:
Fairness for All: A New Commission for Equality and Human Rights
Fairness for all, Age Matters and subsequent consultations on the Age
Work and Families: Choice and Flexibility and subsequent consultations
on Maternity, Paternity, Adoption Leave and Flexible Working Legislation
Equalities Review Initial Call for Evidence
Equalities Review Interim Report Review
TUC Women’s Gold Badge
Lesley Mansell was awarded the TUC Women’s Gold Badge at the TUC
Age Discrimination Regulations
The Age Discrimination Regulations come into force in October 2006.
Officers have received, or will shortly receive training, on the regulations. An
Amicus negotiator’s guide on age discrimination will be published in the
autumn of 2006.
Young Members Committee
The following were elected to the Amicus National Young Members
Committee at the Regional Young Members Equality Forums:
Jenny Duncan – Eastern
Maddi Frondigoun - Ireland
Josh McAllister – Scotland
Steve Paling – Yorkshire and Humberside
Craig Studley – North East
John Walsh - North West
Thanks are extended to the previous National Young Members Committee for
their work and support during their period of office.
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TUC Young Members Conferences 2005 and 2006
Amicus organised a delegation to the TUC young members’ conference in
2005 and 2006, Craig Studeley and John Walsh represent Amicus on the
TUC young members’ forum.
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