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We Are Union VTHC
Safe Respectful Workplaces

We provide training that focuses on eradicating gendered violence from the workplace, it can be tailored to your workplace’s needs and we welcome your queries. You can see our training page here.

Gendered violence is any behaviour, action, system or structure that causes physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm to a worker because of their sex, gender, sexual orientation or because they do not adhere to dominant gender stereotypes or socially prescribed gender roles.

Gendered violence has no place in workplaces. It causes injury to workers.

To enquire about training please email: [email protected]

Jake - MUA

“I’d like to thank you for having the MUA represented in your ‘Safe and Respectful Workplaces’ training recently. I personally took a lot from it; the range of knowledge was great along with the delivery. Like others in the Union movement, we’re attempting to engage with workers to provide not only awareness, but give them an understanding that workers can have a huge impact; make positive change; and, be leaders in our communities, away from a putrid culture of violence.

For me, this can only be done with the kind of emphasis on working class values and an understanding that anything which separates and creates inequality among working class people, like gender violence does, has no place on-the-job and we must be at the front, leading.  You have made this intrinsic link to working class values in your training.”


Beth - Construction Worker, CFMMEU

“The gendered violence training gave me a great understanding of gendered violence and a more in-depth view of how gendered violence begins.”


Andy - CWU

“The training was an eye opener in the myriad of things that influence, impact and cause gendered violence. I now feel more informed to be able to address the cultural issues that support those who perpetrate GV.”


Anonymous

“I had been experiencing harassment at my workplace as the only female in a male dominated workplace. I felt very alone. All the men individually had told me they felt it was wrong, but joined in or ignored it within a group setting. I had to fight bloody hard but finally found a brave man to back me and offer me the support I needed.

The union were very supportive and helped me a lot. Don’t be afraid to stand up if you believe what is happening is wrong. And men - please have the courage to support women and help stop this despicable behaviour; you know it’s wrong. You wouldn’t stand for it if it was your wife, mother, sister or daughter. Stop supporting bad behaviour and call out the bullies when you see them.

Have courage women - together we can unite!”


Mia - CPSU

“This is an excellent, practical training. I am walking away feeling empowered and better equipped to support union members in the workplace experiencing gendered violence.”


Anonymous

1. “How fantastic it is to be in a room full of young people and future activists/leaders”

2. “Things have improved, although there is a lot more work to do”

3. “We are doing important work”

4. “Gendered violence needs to be seen through the lens of both an individual and a collective safety issue”

Anna Stewart Memorial Project

The Anna Stewart Memorial Project graduates of 2017 launched a campaign to lobby Worksafe to recognise gendered violence as an occupational health and safety hazard. The We Are Union Women Team and the VTHC Women’s Committee, along with the broader Victorian union movement, successfully encouraged Worksafe to endorse this perspective. After many years of campaigning, the VTHC has been able to work with Worksafe to have guidance written regarding work-related gendered violence including sexual harassment. Further to that, the VTHC developed a one day HSR refresher training in gendered violence that has been approved by Worksafe for delivery.

It took years of organising and campaigning to achieve this outcome.

It goes to show: if you don’t fight, you lose.


Worker - NUW

How did you get a gendered violence clause in your Enterprise Agreement?

“We basically used every argument under the sun and the employer refused to even acknowledge that there was even a problem with gendered violence at their workplaces (despite obvious and rampant sexual harassment). We tried to appeal to their morality, we tried to outline that their intransigent position on this issue was incompatible with their marketing to the public at-large, we tried to appeal to their interest of being seen as a model employer / corporate citizen and the consequent value to their public relations / image, we tried to talk in practical terms about how they already provide training in other areas and all they would need to do was to change the content of that training.

We even tried to argue the case from a commercial, risk-mitigation angle. But they were not interested in any of this. It was as though our (substantiated) allegation that gendered violence was occurring at the workplace ran counter to their imagined, Utopian view of their workplace. It became about their pride, and every time we raised the issue in negotiations it was like they were getting stabbed in the eye – with a pitch fork.

So we knew that no argument no matter how sophisticated or nuanced, and no level of negotiation prowess was going to win this clause. Instead, our members won this clause by taking their fight about this issue to the public – making a lot of noise at the company’s stores, online and in public spaces. They kept repeating their message that they wanted a workplace free from gendered violence. Our members removed their labour in support of achieving this (and other issues). And they achieved the clause through taking collective in solidarity with allies.”

For more information or to get in contact with the National Union of Workers (now United Workers Union), contact us through our [email protected]

A Union Member maps out one possible strategy for dealing with harassment. Hand holding a pen having drawn a mind map of strategy.

A Union Member maps out one possible strategy for dealing with harassment. Remember to approach trusted individuals in a safe place.