Seafarer LGBT+ rights flagged in Nautilus motion for TUC

11 June 2019

The Union’s international organiser, Danny McGowan, will attend the Trades Union Congress (TUC) LGBT+ Conference, being held in London on 4-5 July.

Following a motion to ITF Congress 2018 calling on global union federations to work together on LGBT+ matters - backed by Nautilus - the Union is seeking support from UK-based unions for maritime professionals and other cross-border workers who may be affected by different laws, regulations and customs wherever their work may take them.

In the light of several attacks against LGBT+ people globally, and a change to the laws in Brunei which saw worldwide condemnation, it was deemed essential for Nautilus to highlight the issue amongst UK trade unions.

TUC research into sexual harassment of LGBT+ people in the workplace recently found that around seven out of 10 LGBT workers experienced at least one type of sexual harassment at work (68 per cent) and almost one in eight LGBT women (12 per cent) reported being seriously sexually assaulted or raped at work.

Mr McGowan said: 'We were proud to support the motion to ITF Congress, and in presenting this motion at the TUC we are proud to draw attention to the issues that LGBT+ seafarers have to consider in some ports of call.

'We look forward to working internationally with other ITF affiliates and the Seafarers' Trust to make the world of work safer for LGBT+ maritime professionals.'

Nautilus LGBT+ motion

Motion text:

According to a 2017 report by ILGA [International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association], there remain 72 states globally that criminalise same-sex consensual activity. Although laws that recognise LGBT+ relationships and families are on the increase, less than 25% of the world’s states recognise or protect them.

Conference notes that workers in maritime, aviation and other international transport industries - alongside other cross-border workers – often have no information on local laws and can be faced with poor connectivity for contacting friends, family or their union. They may be vulnerable to discrimination, harassment, bullying, or even face criminalisation and challenges to their human rights.


  • welcomes initiatives such as Nautilus 24/7, which supplies global contact options to all members.
  • reiterates TUC support for global trade union campaigning for LGBT+ human rights in every country worldwide.
  • welcomes the resolutions of the 2018 UNI and ITF Congresses, and the accompanying Global Unions’ commitment to LGBT+ work, noting that as members, we are now charged with supporting positive change throughout the global labour movement.
  • calls upon the TUC and its member unions to intensify their efforts and design concrete measures to support LGBT+ international workers, whether in maritime, from other transport modes or wider sectors, in their daily working lives.