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Ella Vogelaar

Former Dutch trade union leader's tragic death


On the 7th of October, 2019, Ella Vogelaar, former trade union leader and former politician in the Netherlands, has taken her own life.
Most people in the Netherlands know her as the minister for Housing, Neigbourhoods and Social Integration, a position she had in 2007 and 2008. The neighbourhoods she fought for, first qualified as deprived areas, became later known as 'Vogelaar neigbourhoods'. Her time as a minister was not easy: not only did the right-wing media and politicians attack her, but the support by her own social-democrat party was frail.
But she started her career in the Dutch trade union for education (ABOP), where she became board member as the gay and lesbian groups in this union started to work, and was a strong supporter of these groups. A few years later, she became chair of the ABOP, and vice-chair of the trade union federation FNV. Her political career started after this period.
After stepping down as minister, she worked in several other positions and organisations, including a corporation for building and letting homes for people with lower incomes. She was a woman of strong convictions, always working on solidarity with the deprived, the discriminated, the poor.
Vogelaar suffered from depressions in recent years. At the age of 69, she took her own life.
We are shocked and send our sympathies to the dear ones she left behind.



EU Conference on "Trade Union Practices on Non-Discrimination and Diversity"


The European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers has invited several guests from various countries and backgrounds to a conference with the aim to exchange knowledge and experience about trade unions practices on non-discrimination and diversity among trade unions and other stakeholders.
This will take place the 17th of October in Brussels. The main objectives are:
  • To track the main developments in trade union practices and/or initiatives on non-discrimination and equality since 2010,
  • To identify and extract the elements garnering the success of the trade union practices/initiatives and
  • To examine their potential transferability of successful approaches to other Member States.
Non-discrimination is one of the founding principles of the European Union.
While progress has been made on gender equality at work, this seems to be less so for discrimination on grounds of ethnic and immigrant background (skin colour, first and last names) or gender identity and sexual orientation, as well as discrimination based on age.
The conference will be open to 150 participants, including representatives from trade unions from different Member States, relevant experts in the field, representatives from the European Commission and the steering committee.
Registration for this event is mandatory and places will be subject to availability and confirmation by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers.
European Commission



Polish poster

ETUC condems Polish 'LGBT-free zones'


The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is appalled that Polish newspaper Gazeta Polska distributed today 'GBT free zone' stickers. Doing so could create unnecessary divisions and conflicts in workplaces and in society, as demonstrated by the violence against members of the LGTB community on Saturday. The trade union confederation
  • calls on the newspaper to desist from distributing such trouble-making stickers,
  • calls on the Polish and European authorities to condemn and take appropriate action against the publication and use of such stickers, and above
  • all calls on all people of Poland who want to live in peace and mutual respect to throw away such offensive stickers.
ETUC adopted a statement in 2017 renewing their commitment to equal treatment and non-discrimination, respect and dignity for LGBTQI* persons and workers, and at its Congress in 2019 adopted a manifesto committing to combat all forms of discrimination including sexual orientation and gender identity.



TUC report on anti-LGBT harassment


68% of Brittain's LGBT workers have experienced sexual harassment at work. 12% of the female LGBT workers has experienced serious sexual assault or rape at work. These are some results of research performed by the British trade union organisation TUC, published in a report in April 2019. Read also why most workers affected did not report the incidents and more.
sexual harassment



transgenders, queerness and education

Spanish education union celebrates IDAHOT with special attention to transgenderism, queerness and education


How familiar does this sound: "Oh, an anti-gay insult in our school? Don't worry: we have no gay people in this school." One of the articles in this special issue of the Spanish teachers' union FE-CCOO about transgenders, queerness and education, published in the framework of IDAHOT 2019. For those who read Spanish.



Wellington World of Work meeting


Trade unionists and those who were interested gathered on March, 17, 2019, Wellington (New-Zealand) prior to the ILGA World Conference, and discussed the situation in their own countries and the way to strengthen the international networking on LGBTI trade union issues. Read more about this event on Facebook.
World of Work