UNISON Scotland, the biggest public service union in the region, liked and retweeted a series of transphobic tweets over the weekend. The union subsequently issued an apology and has promised “an internal investigation.”
UNISON Scotland represents over 150,000 workers in Scotland—a broad, diverse coalition that includes trans public servants. After the appearance of retweets from a meme account “Males in Disguise” and anti-trans activist Helen Joyce on Sunday, members spoke out in shock and anger.
The trade union reversed the retweets and issued an apology, calling the incident a “genuine mistake.” Several members continued to call out the union, finding that explanation and the brief apology far from satisfactory.
On Monday, UNISON Scotland published a follow-up statement and fuller apology, reiterating their “unequivocal” support for trans members. “On Sunday, an unauthorized tweet came from UNISON Scotland’s account,” the statement read. “UNISON deeply regrets the offense caused by this unauthorized social media activity. This in no way represents the views of UNISON and is against UNISON’s policy.
“The comments were removed as soon as we were made aware and we are now conducting an internal investigation. UNISON is unequivocal in our support of transgender people’s rights and will continue to fight for equality for all.”
The union’s committee for LGBT+ rights, UNISON Scotland LGBT+, issued a statement of their own regarding the “disgraceful comments.”
“An apology is not adequate to address this kind of behavior in a trade union and especially for someone who has access to the main account,” the committee said.
“We will take whatever course is necessary to remove any individual who acts in a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic manner to ensure that our socials are a safe place for all our members.”
“This committee is disgusted and outraged that a member of our own union either staff or lay member has the ability or access to post such discriminatory information on our national sites,” the statement went on.
“We will be employing our own Trans model policy for full implementation within our own organization to its full effect and call for UNISON rules to implemented where appropriate to deal with those who cannot follow our own union’s policies as agreed democratically.
“We will not stand for this kind of behavior in our union.”