LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey
LGBT Workers and Trade Unions: the Position of LGBT workers in the view of discrimination at work and their relationship with unions in the Republic of Macedonia
The situation with workers' rights and the functioning of trade unions in the Republic of Macedonia in the last twelve years has been brought to the lowest level since the independence of the state. A number of trade unions under the auspices of the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia (SSM) were under direct political control by the ruling VMRO-DPMNE, which completely prevented even the minimum performance of trade union functions. The unions themselves have been put in a position to be silent witnesses to the previous government's harmful policies on workers' rights. This destructive policy during his rule did not only affect the rights of workers and the state of trade unions, but also members of the LGBT community who directly felt the effects of oppression as a result of the policies of Christian Democrat conservatives. By removing the group "sexual orientation" in the Law on Prevention and Protection against Discrimination, members of this community were placed in the category of "others", which makes it difficult to prove discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, the common denominator between all other citizens of Macedonia who are not part of the LGBT community and this community, is that most of them are workers. They all contribute to society with their work, paying taxes, respecting the law.
Stigmatization and discrimination of LGBT people are everyday occurrences, not only on the street, but also within the system. But the purpose of this research is not to see how discriminated these people are in society, but to see their discrimination in their position as workers. How much, and what kind of discrimination do they suffer within their workplace, is there a difference in discrimination on the basis of work, is a factory worker, provided he is openly declared a homosexual, more discriminated against by a lawyer? On the other hand, is there an interest of the unions for this group of workers and their members? Do they have LGBT members, have they shown interest in them, is there a desire among trade unions to protect these workers?