Some of you may be aware that for the past 2 years the Disability and Carers staff network group have put in a great deal of work towards creating a policy to help support staff with caring responsibilities. The policy put forward by the network group was put together after consultation with the university Equality and Diversity department and staff in the network group on what would help them stay in work whilst also fulfilling their caring duties as well as looking at best practices from other organisations. After many conversations with HR about the policy it is with great disappointment that I have to report that the University will be publishing a policy that is very watered down compared to that proposed by the network group.
A key recommendation that was removed was giving carers an additional 5 days paid leave in order that they may carry out some of their caring responsibilities without having to take annual leave or a pay cut. Senior management said that the University is not in a position to agree anything that might cost resources despite having no evidence that this additional, optional, provision would cost any money or productivity at all.
The suggestions put forward would have been reasonable adjustments that wouldn’t have cost much, if anything, and would have made life a lot easier for some of our staff. Whilst I agree having something is better than nothing, the policy put forward by HR does very little to actually help carers any more than any other member of staff would be entitled to anyway. It is very disheartening to see senior management disregarding recommendations from their staff, although perhaps not surprising in light of the recent staff survey results.
Equality and Diversity co-ordinator
It’s absolutely fantastic to see the University is celebrating International Women’s Day with their Women of Impact page, such incredible work by so many academic colleagues, and doubtless countless more not on the page!
What isn’t so great is the lack of even a nod in the direction of our amazing female support staff here at the University of Brighton. The women, without whom, the University of Brighton would cease to function.
I believe that we are ALL women of impact, no matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’ that impact is. Every morning when I come in to work, I say hello and have a little chat with our cleaners who are always so kind and happy that they get me off to a good start to the day. Every lunch time I share a joke with catering staff about my indecision on what to buy, and the inevitable choice of chips with beans in the end. Whenever I need help, caretaking, admin and technical colleagues are always there ready to assist and with a smile on their face. All of these amazing staff regularly impact my time here at the University of Brighton in a positive way.
So I am writing on behalf of UNISON to say a huge THANK YOU to ALL of our women of impact, and that is each and every one of you.
Equality and Diversity Coordinator
Over the past few years we have seen a great increase in the visibility and awareness of trans and gender identity issues, unfortunately alongside that there has been a lot of hate, discrimination and violence. So often the conversation is focused on how people will be affected by trans people, but we need to also think about how society affects trans people. According to Stonewall, 41% of trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident due to their gender identity in the last year and 12% of trans people have been physically attacked by a colleague or customer at work in the last year.
That is why it is so important for us to ‘come out’ as trans allies, challenging discrimination wherever we see or hear it and being visible when we do so. Being an ally is easy, you don’t have to be an expert in issues surrounding gender identity, all it really comes down to is not being rude!
March 31st is Trans Day of Visibility, this year Brighton and Hove City Council and the University of Brighton, among other local organisations, will be handing out pronoun badges to mark the day. The #MyPronounsAre pronoun badge campaign highlights the fact that you can’t assume someone’s gender identity and wearing a badge is a simple way of showing that you are a proud ally. This year I will be joining the campaign and wearing my badge with pride, I hope many others will too.
University of Brighton UNISON Branch Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator
Tips for being a trans ally:
- Listen to trans people, wherever you can get a trans person’s perspective on things.
- Challenge transphobia, don’t leave it to trans people to challenge discrimination.
- Educate yourself, there are loads of resources online around gender identity.
- Don’t assume people’s gender, don’t be afraid to ask someone their pronouns.
Come Out for Trans Equality
Glossary of Terms
Brighton and Hove #MyPronounsAre Campaign