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Fair Work: Leadership and Equalities Programme 2022-23

The Fair Work: Leadership and Equality Programme enables unions to develop learning and skills activity that supports union leadership and organising, and promotes equality.

Exploitative working practices and unfair treatment of workers go against our values and the work we undertake to achieve an equitable, just, and fair society. The diversity of initiatives that took place over the past year have actively contributed to people’s understanding of Fair Work and have pushed towards creating fairer workplaces. The pandemic shone a light on how we can improve as a society. Trade unions are uniquely placed in helping shape a fairer society – where we see the potential of Fair Work achieved. Trade unions are instrumental in highlighting that Fair Work does not just affect workers, it has wider implications for families, our communities, our public services, and wider society as a whole.

During the last year, the Programme supported 340 learners from 12 unions, with the nurturing of new leaders from under-represented groups. The Programme supported unions to develop leadership capacity to ensure increased equality in the delivery of key campaigning areas, providing tangible outcomes for learners. The Programme included cross-union work on the National Care Service and the EIS ‘Pay Attention’ dispute. Unions also developed activity to support ongoing work to tackle racism, support LGBT+ rights and increase activity on Just Transition. Cross-union leadership courses were successfully organised and delivered, including the ‘The next steps for Reps on Health and Safety Regulation Enforcement and Procurement’, ‘Leading Fair Work in Social Care’ and ‘Fair Work, Equality and Diversity in the Highlands & Islands’ projects.

The activity delivered is key in demonstrating to workers just what Fair Work is and how it can be implemented in the workplace – helping increase workers’ security, fulfilment, respect, opportunity, and effective voice. The work undertaken on anti-racism and leadership has been invaluable.

To share good practice across unions, a Fair Work, Leadership and Equality Programme dissemination event was organised in March. It was clear from the presentations from the funded unions that the Programme was effective in the delivery of the five Fair Work dimensions, moving the theory into practice.