CSP calls for a new deal for women at TUC Women's Conference

CSP representatives have spoken about vital issues, including flexible working, the gender pay gap, the cost of living crisis and violence against women, at this year’s TUC Women’s Conference.

TUC Women's Conference 2024

Five CSP delegates attended the conference, which was held at TUC Congress House in London, from 6 – 8 March.

The event began with an address from TUC President, Matt Brack, followed by women members of TUC General Council who lead the sexual harassment executive working group – to tackle and prevent sexual harassment in trade unions. 

In her speech, Annette Mansell-Green, chair of the TUC executive committee on sexual harassment, highlighted the courage of affiliated members who have come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse within their own trade unions. She told delegates:

We must feel confident that we can make reports to our leadership teams without fear of victimisation or suggestions of allegations or threads. Dismissal of those complaints and issues is totally unacceptable

'Every woman should feel safe in her union and there is no place for this kind of abhorrent behaviour.'

Marial Exall, chair of the TUC LGBT+ committee highlighted the voices of LGBT+ people and their experiences of sexual harassment. She said:  

The voices of LGBTQIA+ voices are often not heard in relation to sexual harassment, yet we know seven out of ten LGBTQIA+ workers have experienced workplace sexual harassment

Flexible working, the gender pay gap, cost-of-living and violence against women 

Iona Bateman speaking at TUC Women's Conference 2024
Iona Bateman, CSP member delivers a speech to conference

First up to speak from the CSP delegation was Iona Bateman. Iona spoke alongside USDAW and ASLEF about violence against women and girl activists.

In her speech, Iona said:

Violence against women and girls is one of the biggest human rights challenges in the world. Tragically, one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in our lifetime


Next up to speak was Sam Russell, CSP member and physiotherapist. Sam spoke in support of the second CSP motion on flexible working and the gender pay gap.

Sam said: ‘The lack of flexible working increases the gender pay gap, which at current rates is not predicted to close until 2051. This pay-gap has a massive impact on quality of life, with women earning less, having less disposable income and affecting their long-term financial stability.’ 

Both motions were passed unanimously.  

Women need fair pay, flexible and family friendly rights

Paul Novak delivers speech at TUC Women's Conference 2024
Paul Nowak, TUC General Secretary speaks to conference

Unable to attend the first day of conference due to a clash with budget day, Paul Nowak, TUC General Secretary, spoke to the conference hall on the second day.

In his speech, Paul recognised the economic challenges that women across the country face and highlighted the work that unions and the TUC are doing to make the world of work fairer for women.  

Alice Spilsbury, physiotherapist and CSP trade union organiser deliver a speech to conference
Alice Spilsbury, physiotherapist and CSP trade union organiser deliver a speech to conference

Alice Spilsbury, CSP member and CSP trade union organiser was the last of the CSP delegation to speak. She spoke in support of a UNISON motion of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on women.

Alice said:

As a physiotherapist, I have seen the impact of the cost-of-living in my professional work – in women accessing NHS services. In my role as a trade union organiser, I witness the impact the cost-of-living crisis is having on women in the workplace

Conference closed on International Women's Day, a day to recognise the cultural, economic, political, and social value of women and the challenges faced by women.

To close, conference heard a speech by Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Anneliese Dodds.

Anneliese celebrated the role of women in trade unions, including celebrating the work of the Margaret Bondville, the first female cabinet minister and the first woman chair of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress.

In her speech, Anneliese recognised issues faced day in, day out by working women, including; menopause, violence against women and girls, sexual harassment and the gender pay gap.  

Interested in attending a future TUC Women’s Conference?  

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