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The voice of LGBT members of the PCS Union

Proud condemns abuse of National Museums Wales workers

NMWStrike

Members at the National Museum Wales have been in a dispute with the employer over attacks upon their weekend pay.

The stunning history of Wales is something that must be preserved and protected. Our members at the National Museum Wales, therefore, deserve to be treated with decency.

The head of National Museum Wales currently earns £100,000 but is asking members who earn the lowest salaries to accept a cut of £3000 and has threatened (on live TV) to sack them if they don’t sign new contracts.

Shavanah Taj, PCS Wales interviewed earlier this month –

“The majority of front-of-house staff are PCS members and are on low salaries. Until this month, several of them have been earning less than the Living Wage. They have not chosen to work in the Museum for the money but because they love the kind of work they do, conserving Wales’ historic treasures and cultural artefacts, and making them available to the public.

They would never have chosen to take industrial action but have been forced to do so, again and again, by management’s intransigence. Every time they strike, they lose money, but they are prepared to make that short-term sacrifice in order to secure justice in the longer term. Support for the action has remained very strong in recent weeks. 

Anderson parades his progressive credentials in public – talking about bringing culture to the masses – but shows little sympathy for the wellbeing of his own staff. He blames PCS for the Museum’s financial crisis as a convenient scapegoat for his own lack of ideas and imagination. Even with a reduced budget, a management team worthy of the name would surely not rely exclusively on cutting the wage bill in order to balance their books….Anderson and the senior management team have brought the culture sector into disrepute by introducing industrial strife where there should be a shared commitment to delivering a high quality public service. He, and they, should consider their position.” 

When people are on strike they lose pay. In order to maintain the strike therefore Museum workers urgently need donations for their hardship strike fund, donate here:
Bank: Unity Trust Bank
Account name: PCS Amgueddfa Cymru 107006 Branch Hardship Fund
Account number: 20364700
Sort code: 60-83-01
Or via PayPal: http://bit.ly/26eNhvq

You can also visit their picket line outside local Museums from Thursday onwards to show support.

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Political Concern – CARE

Political concerns

The media has recently reported/exposed the links between Stephen Crabb MP, the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and CARE, a Christian group that has actively campaigned against same sex marriage and has campaigned for the definition of marriage to between a man and a woman.

Whilst PCS Proud has contacted Mr Crabb to confirm whether or not the alleged links to ‘gay cure’ groups will impact our members, we are yet to receive a response. However, the purpose of this briefing is to set out our position quite clearly.

Marriage equality?

PCS Proud do not believe that equal marriage has been achieved. People of the same sex are not allowed to marry in the Church of England or Church in Wales. In Northern Ireland same sex couples are not allowed to marry at all. In addition to this, there are still massive pension inequalities for surviving partners/spouses. There have also been implications for trans members and gender recognition that have seen people forced conform to a convoluted system that does not cater for people who should have their true gender legally recognised.

Definition of marriage:

Whilst CARE believe that the definition of marriage should specify one man and one woman, we believe it is grossly unfair. Why is it unfair? Gender is not binary. People do not necessarily identify as male or female. We believe that marriage should be between two people that are prepared to formalise their relationship. Love does not have a gender, love does not have a religion or belief, a race or any other protected characteristic.

The way forward:

Regardless of the way that our new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions thinks about marriage, sexual orientation or gender identity, equality legislation is in place to protect people with certain characteristics. It is of incredible importance that any instruction, concern or issue that contradicts this equality legislation is raised with PCS immediately.

PCS Proud continues to campaign with members and community groups around the UK to raise awareness of LGBT issues. For more information about Proud, contact Proud@pcs.org.uk or follow @PCS_Proud on twitter.

 

Dorion Griffiths          Eddy Nixon

Proud Chair                Proud Secretary

Download a copy of this briefing in a word document here: CARE briefing

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AGM Expenses

Dear Proud members that attended the PCS Proud AGM

Following receipt of expenses claims our Treasurer, Dean Fisher, has processed your expenses claims and they have been authorised for payment. These should clear in your bank account within the next three working days.

If you have any queries, please contact me on Proud@pcs.org.uk.

Best wishes

Dorion Griffiths

Chair – PCS Proud.

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Scotland update – March 16

To all Proud members in Scotland – below is a message from Kris Hendry, Proud’s Scotland rep.

Organisation – There have been a couple of changes to how we are organised in Scotland.

 

Firstly following this year’s AGM, Derek Bradford has made the decision to step back from his role as joint regional rep for Scotland. I would like to thank Derek for his incredible hard work over the last couple of years. His support as I found my feet over the past year has been invaluable and I look forward to continuing to work with Derek wherever I can.

 

Moving forward I will be acting as the Proud Scotland network rep, so if anyone has any issues or other matters they would like to discuss then I can be contacted at khendrypcs@gmail.com, be assured all discussions will be treated in the strictest confidence.

 

In addition, following PCS’ Strategic Review and the introduction of the Regional Hubs, Helen Flanagan has been assigned as organising support for the Scotland LGBT network to help the work of Proud in Scotland and to help us grow the network further. I’m sure I speak for everyone in welcoming Helen and look forward to working together to advance LGBT equality to benefit our members and our community.

 

AGM – This year’s National Committee has now been elected at the Proud AGM. The full Committee list is available here. If anyone is interested in any of the vacancies, please feel free to contact either Proud or myself who will be happy to discuss the role with you.

 

The work of the Committee for the coming year was also agreed as set out in the motions received prior to the AGM and set out in the AGM agenda. If anyone has any points, issues or queries they would like to discuss regarding the Committee’s work then again, please feel free to get in touch.

 

Learning – This year will see the return of PCS’ Equality Seminar, with Proud/LGBT Seminar currently scheduled for November.

 

Seminar serves as an important opportunity for members to get together and learn and expand on their knowledge and skills with a view to becoming more involved in Proud and PCS. It’s important that the agenda of seminar focus on where it should, you the members.

 

If anyone has an area or subject they would like to be considered for the seminar regarding LGBT issues or equality then please feel free to send these to Proud for the National Committee to consider when planning Seminar.

 

STUC LGBT Conference – Successful delegates have now been informed and, again, a massive thank you to everyone who put themselves forward to represent PCS and Proud at the STUC who were not chosen.

 

This year PCS will be moving motions on welfare reform, the living wage and the LGBT community as well as Transgender identity, support and legislation. Full details including the agenda will be circulated in due course to keep you up to date on what is happening within the STUC on LGBT equality matters.

 

Scottish Parliament Elections – As part of the upcoming elections Stonewall Scotland, The Equality Network, LGBT Youth Scotland and the Scottish Transgender Alliance will be holding an LGBT hustings event on 31st March.

 

While there are no spaces available to this event, it will be streamed online and questions can be submitted to the panel. For more details visit Stonewall Scotland. It is important that we use these elections as an opportunity to advance LGBT equality wherever we can, if you have any ideas on how we can progress this then please get in touch.

 

Eurogames 2020 – LEAP Sports Scotland, following the tremendous success of Pride House during the Commonwealth Games, are working on a bid to bring the Eurogames in 2020 to Glasgow.

 

First held in 1992 the Eurogames are a sports event aimed at LGBTI athletes of all levels, the most recent in Stockholm saw around 5,500 athletes taking part from over 40 countries.

 

LEAP are looking for support as they #BuildTheBid. For more details on how you can support them, visit the LEAP Sports Website.

 

Stop Deportation of Beverley Vaanda Kandjiii

 

In 2013 Beverley and her son arrived in the UK from Namibia claiming asylum. Beverley had fled her home country after experiencing homophobic abuse after previously being forced to marry and suffering no support from the state.

 

Beverley and her son were taken into custody on Monday 21st March and are in danger due to the threat of being deported on Thursday (24th March).

 

Can all members please consider signing and sharing this petition calling for the ceasing of her and her son’s deportation

Thank you and please be sure to follow the network on Twitter @pcsscotlgbt.

 

 

Kris Hendry

PCS, DMTC East Kilbride Office Secretary

PCS Proud Learning & Regional Organiser

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AGM Agenda

The PCS Proud Annual General Meeting will be held on 12 March 2016, at the PCS office in Birmingham.

The Agenda for the meeting can be found by clicking the link below:

AGM 2016 final Agenda SOC report

Guest speakers confirmed: 

Mark Serwotka – General Secretary of PCS

Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah – Head of Political Campaigns and Equality

Please direct any enquiries to Proud Secretary, Ste Heyward, on Secretary@pcsproud.org.uk or by emailing Proud@pcs.org.uk

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PCS Proud AGM poster

Please see the attached AGM Poster

https://www.icloud.com/pages/000XFeV1aRmBs3l1kE9q8hbAQ#Party_Poster_Small_copy

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PCS Proud AGM message

Dear PCS Proud members
We are, once again, at that time where you have the ability to shape PCS Proud policy and elect a National Committee.
Whether you want to get involved with PCS Proud as a rep or officer of the National Committee or you would like to submit motions on new campaign initiatives or on issues such as LGBT representation in the union, in our workplaces or in society, or you would like to challenge LGBT phobia, then all you have to do is go to www.pcsproud.org.uk/agm and complete the necessary forms to submit your motions/nominations to our Standing Orders Committee for inclusion on the agenda of our AGM which takes place on 12 March 2016 in the PCS office in Birmingham.
You can also read our Annual Report which myself and other PCS Proud reps have compiled to show you that Proud is a fighting organisation that is ‪#‎ProudTo‬ stand up against LGBT Phobia and continues to highlight the principles called for in our LGBT Charter (www.pcsproud.org.uk/charter).
PCS has to adapt to fight increasing attacks on our members and PCS Proud must too adapt to best represent our members voices in the workplace and beyond.
If you want more information you can contact Proud@pcs.org.uk or call me and leave a voicemail on 07471 195 587.

Yours in solidarity
Steve Heyward – Proud Secretary
‪#‎YourVoiceYourProud‬

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STUC LGBT Conference 2016: Calling notice

STUC LGBT Conference 2016: Calling Notice

Each year, PCS Scotland select local delegates to attend the STUC LGBT Workers’ Conference.

For 2016 the Conference will be held in the Beardmore Hotel, Clydebank on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th May.

2016 will mark the 5th annual LGBT Workers’ Conference with the event going from strength to strength each year, 2015 saw the event being nominated as ‘Event of the Year’ at the Equality Network’s inaugural awards.

Offering an excellent opportunity for reps to develop experience in debating motions in a relaxed, safe, environment, to take part in a number of workshops as well as to network and build friendships with LGBT members from across the Trade Union movement we are looking for member nominations to attend and represent PCS.

If anyone is interested in nominating themselves and/or others to attend, or would like more information about the Conference then please email regional reps Derek Bradford and Kris Hendry who will be happy to discuss.

In addition, if members wish to submit motions, or ideas for motions to be submitted to the STUC LGBT Workers’ Conference then, again, please email Derek and Kris.

All nominations and/or motions should be with Derek and Kris no later than Friday 22nd January for submission to PCS Scotland office by the required deadline.

Regards

Derek Bradford & Kris Hendry

Proud Scotland Regional Reps

 

 

 

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World AIDS Day 2015

Every year, World AIDS Day is held on 1 December. The purpose of World AIDS day is to raise awareness, remember those we have lost and continue to fight stigma
 

PCS Proud’s National Committee encourage all members to talk about HIV and AIDS, to raise awareness in workplaces and ensure that our PCS branches and employers are aware of the importance of talking about issues that affect workers so that barriers can be broken down and stigma can become a thing of the past.

 

It is estimated that 103,700 people in the UK are living with HIV. A lot of people think that HIV is an issue only for gay men but 45% of those diagnosed with HIV in 2014 were not men who have sex with men.

 

There are a lot of myths around HIV and AIDS. The Terence Higgins Trust, a leading charity in this field, has provided the following facts:

 

• HIV and AIDS are not the same thing

• HIV is not a death sentence

• There is no cure for HIV

• HIV cannot be passed by kissing or touch

• HIV is not only an issue for gay men

• A woman with HIV can have children without HIV.

 

You can find out more information about these facts, and other statistics, by going to www.tht.org.uk.

 

Many public sector employers will have a policy on how to handle situations when people tell their employer that they have HIV/AIDS but a policy is not good enough unless it is acted upon with the member of staff at the very centre of any discussions or decision making that takes place.

 

On 1 December 2015, we encourage members to wear red ribbons where possible. The Terence Higgins Trust is asking people tweet pictures of themselves wearing red ribbons using the hashtag #StopStigma.

 

PCS has uploaded TUC guidance on HIV and AIDS on to the document library which can be accessed by logging in to www.pcs.org.uk. A PCS Proud factsheet is also attached to this briefing.

 

Receiving a diagnosis of HIV can be an extremely scary time for individuals and their families. Therefore, it is important that PCS as a union continues to fight for a sympathetic employer that supports its staff. It is also important that all PCS reps treat members with HIV/AIDS in the sensitive and supportive way that they deserve. If you, or someone you know, has an issue in the workplace because of HIV/AIDS and you would like advice or information, please do not hesitate to contact PCS Proud or your Group LGBT Advisory Committee who can provide you with some advice and information.

 

In 2014, PCS Proud launched our LGBT Charter which provides basic principles that we continually campaign for in the workplace, in society and beyond. You can access our charter at www.pcsproud.org.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIV/AIDS and Work
Introduction

Living with HIV/AIDS can be very challenging in many aspects. However, with the right support, the barriers that members face can be broken down.

This fact sheet is intended for branches and members who wish to gain understanding on how to support someone who has HIV or AIDS from a workplace perspective. The key thing is to remember that having HIV or AIDS does not make anyone less of a person. We encourage you to see the person, not the condition.

What are HIV and AIDS?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This weakens the body’s immune system and can progress to AIDS.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It means a collection of illnesses (‘syndrome’) caused by a virus people pick up (‘acquire’) that makes their immune system get weak (‘immune deficiency’).

You cannot get an AIDS diagnosis unless you are already HIV positive.

How is HIV spread?

A common belief is that HIV is only spread through sexual activity with someone who has HIV already. However, it can also be spread through the sharing of injecting equipment with someone who has HIV or even be passed from a HIV positive mother to their child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding.

Some occupations (such as healthcare) carry a higher risk due to accidental exposure to infected blood. Known cases have almost always been due to an accident with a needle/syringe.

Are many people HIV positive?

There are more than 107,000 people (2013 estimate) living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the UK, mostly of working age, of whom a quarter are unaware of their status.

Although most who live with HIV in the UK have normal life expectancy and lead fulfilling working lives, a large minority of people are ignorant of the facts. This means people living with HIV can face prejudice and discrimination in the workplace.

 

HIV and AIDS in the workplace

There are some key things that need to be in place for people who disclose that they have HIV or AIDS

• Complete confidentiality must be assured by the employer and employees

• A guarantee that colleagues will not be discriminated against on the grounds of perceived or actual HIV status.

• Clear guidelines on how to manage staff with HIV or AIDS, including provisions in sickness policies and sickness reporting procedures.

• Training opportunities for all staff to learn about HIV and AIDS, regardless of whether or not any employees have the conditions.

Equality Legislation

Disability provisions contained within the Equality Act 2010 mean that people living with HIV are considered disabled regardless of health status. This is from the moment of diagnosis.

Disclosure

It is illegal for employers to ask questions about HIV status during recruitment until after a job offer has been made (with some exceptions such as the Armed Forces). Whilst members of staff do not have to disclose their HIV status, it is important to recognise that disclosure will have to be made if the member of staff requires reasonable adjustments etc… By way of good practice, an employer should have a policy on who needs to be informed about the HIV status of individuals.

Stigma

Social attitudes still need to change as many people with HIV still face many barriers. The Terence Higgins Trust (www.tht.org.uk) are asking people to stand and say #StopStigma this World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December. It is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and show support for those who have HIV or AIDS. It is also a day to remember those who have died from the condition.

Information and advice

Information and advice can be obtained from PCS Proud by contacting Proud@pcs.org.uk. A booklet called “Tackling HIV Discrimination at Work” is available from https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/tacklingHIVdiscriminationwork2.pdf

 

 

PCS Proud | www.pcsproud.org.uk | Proud@pcs.org.uk

 

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Proud resource: Working with Trans people

Sometimes people do not feel confident in dealing with trans issues both inside and outside of the workplace. This 10 point list is intended to provide some very basic advice on how to approach certain situations. If you would like more information or support, you can contact PCS Proud’s Trans Member’s Rep by emailing Proud@pcs.org.uk

Trans flag
1. Respect a persons’ gender identity. Show this by using the preferred name, title and pronoun whether or not they are present.

2. Try to challenge other people’ inappropriate comments, and remember that disapproving silence can often be just as effective as speaking out.

3. Do not comment on a Trans person’s appearance or “passability” unless they specifically ask for your opinion.

4. Do not confuse Trans with sexual orientation. Trans people can be heterosexual, bisexual, asexual, lesbian or gay.

5. If you are unsure about which pronoun to use, use neutral terms until the Trans person discloses their preference or, if appropriate, ask.

6. If you make a mistake on gender title or pronoun apologise and move on. To make a fuss often just makes the situation worse.

7. Be sensitive about a person’s gender history or Trans status. Do not disclose it to anyone else unless absolutely necessary (and then with the person’s consent).

8. Question your own assumptions. Like everyone else Trans people are unique individuals. Not all have surgery or take hormones. Not all Trans women wear make-up and wear skirts.

9. Learn as much as you can about Trans communities and the needs of Trans people: remember ignorance is the root of most prejudice.

10. Lead by example: if you show acceptance and ease with a person’s affirmed gender, then the Trans person will be at ease, and your colleagues will have a good model to follow.

Working with Trans people poster

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Trans Day of Remembrance #TDOR

TDoR12

Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is observed on 20 November every year. It began in 1999 as the Remembering Our Dead candlelight vigil in San Francisco after the brutal and still unsolved murder of Rita Hester on 28 November 1998.

Since statistics began to be collected in a structured manner, from January 2008 to December 2014, a period of just seven years, more than 1,700 trans murders have taken place. Many of the victims are left unidentifiable because of the brutality of their deaths, and those who can be identified meet no less brutal ends.

To name three from this year alone:

• Diosiany Munoz Robaina (24 year old) was stoned to death in Cuba, on 26 April

• Mercedes Williamson (17 years old) was beaten to death in Alabama, USA, on 10 February 2015

• Ashton O’Hara (25 year old) was stabbed to death then repeatedly run over by a vehicle in Detroit, USA on 14 July.

The sad fact is that in 48 US states it is possible to murder a trans person and then use as an acceptable defence the fact that you suddenly discovered the trans status of the victim and in a fit of shock and rage killed them. This is called the law of sudden revelation and has only recently been repealed in case of LGB-motivated murders. It is a reflection of the way Trans people are still viewed (and not just in the US) that it was not repealed in the case of Trans murders.

Events are held at TDoR but the common feature to most is a reading of those who have lost their lives to Transphobia in the previous 12 months. This reading names the person, where it is known, and the manner of the death. A candle is often lit for each of those lost.

Also remembered are the countless numbers who take their own lives every year as they eventually lose their struggle with gender dysphoria, or succumb to the constant pressure and abuse that just being identified as trans can bring.

This is a very serious and solemn event, akin to holocaust memorial day, for it remembers those who have lost their lives to brutal blind intolerance and ignorance. It is also a time of hope though, that in remembering and highlighting the deaths to the wider community, we can all work together to bring them an end.

Spare a thought for those that lost their lives, join us in fighting for change and raise awareness of Trans issues. The LGBT Charter can provide a good basis for campaigning activity. It is available at www.pcsproud.org.uk/charter.

 

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Open Letter to Germaine Greer

cropped-Proud.jpg

Dear Germaine

PCS Proud represents LGBT people who are members of the PCS Union in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Our definition of LGBT, as democratically decided by our members, refers to those who are not heterosexual, or, those who do not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth.

We were dismayed and, quite frankly, disgusted at the terrible language you have used in reference to people who are Trans. Whilst swearing and foul language is one thing, the terminology you have used is simply offensive and ill-informed.

You keep referring to the physical act of changing genitalia. There is so much more to gender than just re-assignment surgery. The fact that you don’t know this, and are not prepared to accept it, is saddening.

PCS Proud condemns the fact that you have used widespread publicity to air views that will potentially damage lives. Trans people have to face barriers that exist purely because of ignorance and prejudice. The media hounded a teacher called Lucy Meadows to the point that she committed suicide. A Trans police officer was bullied to the point that she had to leave her job.  These are just two of many examples of how the prejudice you so freely pedal damages the lives of Trans people, and in some cases, sadly, end them.

Whatever your views are, PCS Proud would like you to keep them to yourself. The comments you have made in a matter of minutes, to the shock and amazement of organisations that support trans people, may take decades of work to counter as we struggle to raise awareness and help society change.

The cost of your comments could potentially be very dear:  lives could be lost;  families devastated; and the position of the Trans community made even worse by a deepening of societies bigotry towards them. Please stop.

Yours

 

Steven Heyward                               Saorsa Tweedale

Secretary                                             Trans Member’s Rep

On behalf of PCS Proud’s National Committee

 

 

[Notes to editors]

PCS Proud is the voice of LGBT members of the Public and Commercial Services Union which includes Civil Servants and private sector workers on Government contracts.

PCS Proud’s website is www.pcsproud.org.uk and email is Proud@pcs.org.uk

Secretary, Steve Heyward, is available to speak to media on 07471195587.

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No to austerity, Yes to workers rights

PCS Proud joined colleagues from PCS and many of the TUC affiliated unions on Sunday 4 October in Manchester to march against austerity.

What was the significance of this date? Behind a ring of steel and snipers on rooftops, protecting them from the very unhappy electorate, the Conservative Party conference was getting underway.

The march was titled “No to Austerity, Yes to Workers Rights”. Every person in attendance was responsible for making our voices heard. PCS Proud was there shouting, loud and clear, that austerity and attacks on workers are not acceptable and that vulnerable people should not be made to suffer at the hands of the rich.IMG_0348

Speakers including Mark Serwotka, the PCS General Secretary congratulated the National Gallery strikers who took 110 days of action and won their dispute with Candy Udwin, PCS rep at the National Gallery being reinstated and returning to work.

The speakers then, rightly, condemned the Government attacks on us via the Trade Union bill.

Ste Heyward, Proud’s Secretary said “I am thankful to all PCS Proud members and associate members who attended with branches, regions and other community organisations. We made clear that we will not take the attacks on us lying down.”

The march is only part of the fight back and we must ensure that we keep pressing for coordinated action across the public sector. By fighting together we can win with the tory billionaires realising that they are the few and we are the many.

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