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LGBT+ workers put pride in unions


‘An injury to one is an injury to all’ this principle has inspired the labour movement around the world for generations, including workers across the transport sectors. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other queer workers have always played an essential role in our unions, but only in recent years have their contributions – and the particular issues they face in the workplace – been recognised.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) wants to begin closing this knowledge gap. In 2023, we commissioned independent research on the status of LGBT+ workers in the aviation and public transport sectors around the globe, working with a set of unions from different regions around the world. Our report, Trade unions and LGBT+ workers in the transportation sector, published today sets out the key findings.

ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton said: “Trade unions worldwide must strengthen their strategies to support LGBT+ workers effectively in order to win rights and equality. The ITF stands with LGBT+ workers and calls on all unions to be genuinely inclusive and safe spaces for all.”

ITF affiliated unions from across Africa, Asia, Europe, Africa, North America and South America participated in the study.

“Through my interviews with KPTU LGBT+ members for the report, I was able to hear their stories and learn that LGBT+ workers in Korea are connected as a community in the workplace. I hope that this report, which captures the voices of LGBT+ workers, will help make our workplaces fairer and safer,” said Minjin Lee, KPTU gender equality director, South Korea.

"This report shows what LGBT+ workers know from lived experience — our unions are the best way for us to secure rights and protections at work, but dignity and inclusion take more than just contract language. We've come a long way, but we have urgent work ahead to make sure that our contracts are fully enforced and that anti-LGBT+ hate has no home in our workplaces and unions," said Keturah Johnson, international vice president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. 


The full report can be downloaded from the ITF website.

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About the ITF: The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions from over 150 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice for nearly 16.5 million working women and men in the transport industry across the world.