Equality is a fundamental principle for SIPTU. But more than that, it is part of our daily practice. The Union is committed to combatting unjust discrimination in all of its forms.

For many years, we have played a leading role in the campaign for equal pay and employment opportunities for women – not only seeking improvements in the law but also securing many important breakthroughs in workplaces around the country.

The Union’ successes under equal pay laws have resulted in significant pay-outs for women (and men!). Union action has also brought about better promotional opportunities as well as greater access to up-skilling and training.

Traditional barriers between “men’s work” and “women’s work” have been broken down – with the help of SIPTU. The Union has also campaigned consistently for the introduction of more childcare facilities – as well as improved maternity, paternity and parental leave – and other measures to assist working parents. While our members have enjoyed some successes on these issues, there is still more work to be done.

SIPTU has also begun to take action to tackle discrimination against many other groups within society on grounds such as race or ethnic origin, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation, marital status or even membership of a trade union!

The Union is now building up a similar track record of successes in securing entitlements for workers in these categories who have been exploited by unscrupulous employers who have made deductions from their workers’ pay packets or tried to force them to work excessive hours in breach of health and safety laws.

Fighting discrimination is part and parcel of the mainstream work of the Union. But SIPTU has also taken some specific measures to support this activity – like creating our Equality Unit to provide a range of specialist advice and information on all of these areas, as well as co-ordinating the Union’s responses on these issues at national level.

The Unit also works closely with SIPTU’s National Women’s Committee to develop actions on matters of particular concern to women workers.

SIPTU’s social solidarity service – the Irish Trade Union Trust – is also involved in a number of projects relating to issues like racism, sectarianism, cross-border development and support for disadvantaged communities, as well as action on behalf of retired workers, people with disabilities and the unemployed.

The Union offers a range of education and training courses for members dealing with various aspects of equality – including gender issues, the rights of people with disabilities and combatting racism.

SIPTU is committed to equality in principle and in practice – both in law, in the workplace and in the wider society.

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