Union strikes deal with Equal Opportunities Commission

The
Communication Workers Union (CWU) has come to an agreement with the Equal
Opportunities Commission (EOC) to "help ensure dignity and respect"
for all workers represented by the union.

The
union and the EOC began working together after the EOC was contacted by a
number of women claiming that sexual harassment had been carried out or
supported by postal workers who were members of the union.

Representatives
of the two organisations will sign a formal accord at the union headquarters at
lunchtime today.

Julie
Mellor, chair of the EOC, said unions had a key role to play in establishing a
zero tolerance policy towards harassment of any kind.

“This
agreement marks an important recognition of that role,” she said. “The union’s
commitment will also support the implementation of the action plan to stamp out
harassment that we agreed with the Royal Mail last year and continue to
monitor."

The
union’s general secretary Billy Hayes said: "We are acutely aware that
problems of bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, have existed
within our industries. With the aid of the EOC, we have mapped out a strategy
for ensuring our workplaces and our union are prejudice-free zones."

The
union runs a harassment hotline for its members, has introduced training
sessions for all active members, and has drawn up a charter for the membership,
Hayes said.

The
union is set to establish a fully-trained equality officer at each of its 200
branches, and will survey a sample group of members regularly, he added.

By Quentin Reade

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