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Fighting against sexual harassment leads TUC conference

Fighting against sexual harassment leads TUC conference

The TUC’s 150th Congress opened on Sunday with a debate on how trade unions are leading the way on fighting sexual harassment.


  • 10 Sep 2018
  • TUC

A man is pictured bullying a woman

Speaking for tougher action against sexual harassment, Ele Wade, Prospect Vice President, said that whilst much of the media attention had focussed on public figures, sexual harassment was a much greater issue across all parts of the economy.

The debate, opened by actors’ union Equity, focussed on the experience of workers in the creative industries.

Yet sexual harassment is not limited to the creative industries alone.

Prospect recently surveyed our members on the issue of sexual harassment. The results showed:

  • Women are much more likely than men to have experienced sexual harassment (43% compared with 20%).
  • Women working in broadcasting/entertainment are more likely than women in other sectors to have experienced sexual harassment (62% compared with 43%).
  • Young workers are more likely than older workers to have experienced sexual harassment (44% of those aged 30 years or younger, compared to 18% of those aged 60 years or older)
  • Workers in archaeology are much more likely than workers in other sectors to have been harassed (not just sexual harassment) by third parties (19% compared with 6%).

The BECTU Sector of Prospect has been working with the Federation of Entertainment Unions on challenging sexual harassment. This has included our work with Equity on the British Film Institutes’ Principles to tackle and prevent bullying and harassment in the screen industries.

Speaking during the debate, Ele Wade, commented: “Our movement must lead change. We know that reported incidents are the tip of the iceberg, TUC research from 2016 found that 4 in 5 women did not report sexual harassment to their employer.

“A recent Prospect survey showed that while members were more inclined to report harassment to their union than to their employer, still 30% of women and 24% of men would be disinclined to do so.

“As a union we represent workers across a wide range of different sectors and in different types of employer, public services, science and engineering, heritage, digital and entertainment. The Me Too movement has highlighted just how common experiences like these are, especially in the creative industries and politics. We want to emphasise that this issue extends well beyond those in the public eye.”

For more on Prospect’s work on sexual harassment click here: https://www.prospect.org.uk/news/id/2018/June/5/Sexual-harassment-workplace-is-union-issue