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BFAWU Conference 2024 New legislation urgently needed to protect workers from sexual harassment, food workers insist

NEW legislation is urgently needed to protect workers from endemic sexual harassment, food workers insisted today .

Delegates at the bakers’ union’s annual conference in Staffordshire unanimously endorsed a call for compulsory reporting of workplace sexual harassment cases, akin to the requirement to record and report accidents. 

The intervention, which also included a demand to set up a new anonymous reporting telephone line, came after the boss of McDonald’s British division admitted to dealing with between one or two sexual harassment claims a week from outlets of the fast-food giant nationwide. 

Alistair Macrow told the BBC last November that he had received more than 400 complaints from workers in the previous four months after the broadcaster found that staff as young as 17 were being groped and harassed. 

Delegate Vicky Bassett told members in Stone: “In 2024, it’s appalling that people are still going to work facing abuse. 

“It is terrible that those in our union who have been sexually harassed have been severely let down by their employers. We need real change.”

The true scale of the problem is likely to be far worse than official figures suggest, warned Ms Bassett, who highlighted TUC research revealing that for every one person who reports abuse, five do not. 

To a standing ovation, she added: “As a union, we’ll show leadership and fight for the protection of workers, not just in our industry but in every section of the economy.”

Fellow delegate Jonathan Kerrigan backed the call and urged his union to work with its parliamentary group after the general election to push MPs into action.

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