The misuse of non-disclosure agreements to prevent conversations about sexual harassment should be made an area of special focus by unions in the fight for equality in the workplace, Equity has argued.
It has received the backing of the Trades Union Congress after a moving a motion on NDAs at this week’s TUC Women’s Conference.
Since workplace harassment was brought into focus with the advent of campaigns such as #MeToo and Time’s Up, Equity has criticised legislation that it says enables employers to use NDAs to restrict discussions on areas such as harassment and bullying or pay.
Equity low pay/no pay organiser Charlotte Bence said this meant progress in tackling inequality would move at a slower pace.
She told The Stage: “Real equality in the workplace can only come about when all of us are able to highlight bad practice openly and constructively. When we can talk about the problems, we can start working together on solutions.
“We’re pleased our motion was passed by TUC Women’s Conference, as this means we now have the support of our sister unions across TUC in campaigning to bring about this much needed change for workers across our industries and beyond.”
The motion, submitted by Equity and seconded by Prospect, BECTU’s parent union, called on the TUC Women’s Committee to take an active role in monitoring parliamentary progress of proposals to reform NDAs, as well as lobby for these reforms.
The committee also agreed to help produce guidance for union staff and representatives on good practice in negotiating workplace policy reform relating to NDAs.
In addition to this motion, Equity, represented by Bence and Equity women’s committee members Fran Rifkin and Jean Rogers, also seconded motions on sexual harassment in the music industry, dignity in the workplace, parental leave for the self-employed and mental health.