"Discrimination at Work" Conference addresses LGBTI+ workers rights in the Western Balkans

On 23-25 March, ERA joined Solidarity Centre in Skopje, North Macedonia at its regional conference on “Discrimination at Work”. The event was attended by Trade Union representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. The three days event aimed to provide a snapshot of workplace discrimination in the Balkans region, as well as help to look at TU’s, workers’, governments’ and employers’ responses to unequal treatment at work, including legal efforts and policy changes, in order to pave the way for broader democratic policy changes that protect worker safety across the region. 

The conference served as a platform for networking and sharing knowledge and best practices and it helped unions to build connections among each-other as well as with CSOs as they look to build cross cutting movements for worker’s safety and facilitated knowledge sharing between the unions across the region. 

At this important regional gathering, ERA had the opportunity to facilitate a panel on the role of NGOs working on discrimination issues in the disability community, the LGBTIQ+ community and Roma/Egyptian and other minority communities on effectively confronting bullying and discrimination in hiring. The second panel was a presentation on LGBTI+ community and their specific challenges and needs as workers. ERA representatives shared with the participants also the recently published Guide for Trade Unions on engaging with LGBTI+ workers in the Western Balkans as well as provided tips and ideas on what can be done in our region. 

The event was an excellent opportunity for ERA to strengthen dialogue with Trade Unions and to promote inclusion of LGBTI+ workers. TU representatives appreciated the conversations on the topic and welcomed future possible cooperation with LGBTI+ organizations in the region as well as holding additional more in depth activities on this topic. 

Note: Since 2019 ERA is implenting a regional project aiming to address the socio-economic rights of LGBTI+ people in the Western Balkans, with the support of Olof Palme Center.