Theme 11: Equality and diversity in industrial relations

The diversity of labour force, in terms of gender, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation is a recognized phenomenon. Still many groups of workers face discrimination on labour market and seek for solutions that would provide more equality. The working lives change as people choose different life styles and have different expectations about work-life balance. There is a growing debate on the role of double shift, the domestic and care duties and their impact on the worker’s position on labour market. Social and labour market policies shape conditions for participation on labour market, the extent of equality and protection of vulnerable groups. What is the role of trade unions and employers’ organizations in shaping the public debate and influencing equality policies, especially in times of austerity?

This theme also aims to look at trade unions as organizations that deal with diversity and equality in different ways: by offering inclusive space for activity and participation of different groups (reserved seats, youth/women/ethnic/LGBT committees etc.), by broadening their agenda in order to meet different needs of diverse members (health, domestic violence, cultural differences etc.). What kind of strategies trade unions use to meet the diversity of their members?  Topics of interest range from separate organizing, equal or special treatment of vulnerable groups, the salience of equality issues in their organizational agenda, to recognition of glass ceiling and emergence of new  trade union leadership patterns that relate to diversity.