Wales Equality Issues

Issue date
10 Dec 2010

Wales TUC  - Equality Issues

The Wales TUC campaigns against discrimination at work and in wider society. Unions have always been at the forefront of the drive for equality at work, whether through the struggle for equal pay, through tackling racism or working for equal access to learning and skills. The Wales TUC continues the campaign to create a more equal Wales

The Wales TUC Education Services offers a specific training programme for equality reps, as well as training courses open to all union reps on issues such as:

autism awareness - dyslexia awareness - cancer awareness - domestic violence -mental health awareness - gender and health and safety – tackling racism – out at work.

Wales TUC Equality Committee

The Wales TUC Equality Committee is elected every two years at the Wales TUC’s biennial conference. Details of the current elected members can be found at

Equality Campaigns and Events

The Wales TUC’s equality campaign/work priorities are set by our biennial conference and for 2017-18 include:

-‘invisible/hidden’ disabilities                        -women and in work poverty

-the menopause and work                               -apprenticeships and gender balance                      

-maternal mental health                                   -energy costs and food poverty

Want to get more involved in the equality work of the Wales TUC?

Equality Forums

The Wales TUC’s disability, women’s, LGBT, BME and youth forums are open to new members. These self-organising forums exist to help promote equality through the trade union movement in Wales, and union members can get involved in activities such as helping to plan trade union events, surveys, resources and campaigns to raise awareness of issues and advance equality in the workplace. If you’d like to be put in touch with the forums to find out more about getting involved, please contact [email protected].

All Wales Equality Network

Equality reps and any union reps or activists with an interest in equalities can sign up to the Wales TUC All Wales Equality Network.  Members receive monthly newsletters with the latest updates, news, resources and research as well as details of training and events on equality issues. To sign up to the email list contact [email protected]

About Trade Union Equality Representatives

Organisations are at their most productive and effective when their employees feel valued and respected and are treated equally and fairly. The Wales TUC supports a network of trade union equality representatives  to help organisations in achieving this aim.  Trade union equality reps are uniquely placed to promote fairness in the workplace by raising the equality agenda amongst fellow workers and their own trade unions and by encouraging their employers to make equality and diversity part of mainstream collective bargaining.  Their work can also extend into their communities and reps have a real opportunity to make a difference in this role.  Their work can ensure that every person receives fair treatment irrespective of gender, race, disability, age, gender reassignment or sexuality. 

The role of the trade union equality rep in the devolved public sector in Wales is supported by Welsh Government. Equality reps in the devolved public sector are allocated additional facility time to carry out their role effectively. 


There is a clear business case for employers to promote equality and diversity.  An employer that is discriminatory and has a culture of bullying and harassment makes it difficult for employees to work their best, which may lead to high staff turnover, poor performance, stress and ill health or an employment tribunal. 

According to a TUC and Wales TUC survey undertaken in 2009, where equality reps exist, the following comments were made by employers:

  • grievances are more likely to be resolved informally when the equality rep is involved
  • in a competitive environment equality issues will be more important and enable us to get the most capable people into the organisation
  • as a result of the training introduced by trade union equality reps, bullying cases have gone down which has reduced stress related absenteeism and lowered sickness levels
  • attitudes and behaviours have changed which has improved worker morale and retention

Role of Equality Reps

The role of equality representatives may differ from union to union, but they may perform some or all of the following functions in the workplace;

  • provide information and advice about equality matters to individual members
  • represent employees on equality issues
  • help promote the value of equality in the workplace
  • help employees to achieve a more equitable work-life balance
  • assist with monitoring and assessing the impact of employment policies on different groups to ensure that no discrimination arises or steps can be taken to avoid discrimination arising
  • work in partnership with employers to develop policies and practices that will reduce the risk of discrimination cases being taken and ensure that the workplace is fair and inclusive
  • facilitate consultation and employee involvement on equality matters, helping build consensus
  • support other union representatives and advise on any equality matters that arise in collective bargaining with the employer.
  • a trade union equality representative has been defined as a representative of an independent trade union who, in workplaces where independent trade unions are recognised for collective bargaining purposes:
  • has been appointed or elected by their union in accordance with the union’s rules to take on the role and;
  • has been or intends to go through training approved by the Wales TUC or their independent trade union to carry out the role.


Trade Union Mental Health Guide

The Wales TUC has worked in partnership with Gofal to produce a trade union equality representative briefing. This useful workplace guide is available to download in English and Welsh and the bottom of this page. 


For further information please contact Jo Rees, Equality Reps Network Project Officer (Maternity Cover) - [email protected] or tel 029 2034 7010.