Our Equality Rep Development Project is a scoping exercise to discover how best we can increase and develop the role of Equality Reps in Scottish private and third sector workplaces.
The work builds on recommendations from the Working Together Review and is funded by the Scottish Government.
It is clear that there is still a lack of clarity on the role of Equality Reps in the workplace. Our recent survey showed that 55% of union members who responded were not confident that they knew what an Equality Rep’s role was.
Beyond this, 59% believed that Equality Reps were entitled to statutory release time similar to shop stewards and Health and Safety Reps which is untrue!
It’s clear that there is work required on promoting the role and finding methods to support equality reps once they are in the role. We are working with several workplaces and unions to discuss how they currently support Equality Reps and broader equality work and how we can support them in the future. It is clear that union members believe that the lack of an Equality Rep is a significant barrier to equality work being carried out (46% of respondents) but they also felt that other priorities for the union/employer (30%) and a lack of support from the employer contributed to this (23%).
These are issues that we are aiming to address through this project and beyond to achieve fairer and more equality aware workplaces.