The Role and Impact of Trade Union Equality Representatives in Britain


  • Nicolas Bacon is at Nottingham University Business School, Jubilee Campus. Kim Hoque is at Birkbeck, University of London.


Drawing on data from the first national survey of trade union equality representatives, this article assesses the role and impact of equality representatives in Britain. While the majority of equality representatives report having had a positive impact on employer equality practice, the analysis also suggests that equality representative effectiveness might be enhanced via the introduction of statutory rights to time off. In addition, it points to the need for unions to include equality on the bargaining agenda, attract new representatives to the role, and ensure that equality representatives have the confidence and skills to represent members effectively within grievance procedures. It also suggests an important role for the government in encouraging employers to engage in meaningful dialogue with equality representatives.