UNISON Scotland apologises after sharing ‘unauthorised’ anti-trans tweets

UNISON members marching through the streets

One of the largest trade unions in the UK has apologised after a series of transphobic tweets were shared by its official account. 

UNISON Scotland, which represents more than 150,000 public service workers in the devolved nation, published and liked a series of anti-trans tweets at the weekend. 

This included tweets from gender critical activists Helen Joyce and JK Rowling, as well as an account called ‘Males in Disguise’ which shares anti-trans memes and views. 

UNISON members were quick to notice the content and report it, with some immediately stating they would suspend their membership over the offensive tweets. 

The union apologised and deleted the retweets, stating it was a “genuine mistake” to have shared them. 

Members and Twitter users, however, blasted the response as weak and subsequently an official statement was published by the union. 

You may like to watch

The statement outlined that an investigation is now taking place and the union affirmed it has “unequivocal” support for trans people. 

The statement reads: “On Sunday, an unauthorised tweet came from UNISON Scotland’s account.

“UNISON deeply regrets the offence caused by this unauthorised 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.”

Comedian and author Aidan Comerford criticised the initial response by UNISON, saying it “isn’t good enough” and it has “understandably shaken trans member’s faith in UNISON Scotland”. 

He added in a second tweet: “No org retweets two anti-trans tweets as a “genuine mistake.” 

“It seems likely that “We” includes someone who has access to the Unison account and forgot to switch back to their own account to retweet the anti-trans stuff.

“This “explanation” isn’t good enough.”

UNISON Scotland LGBT+, the union’s committee for LGBT+ rights, said the retweets were “wholly unacceptable” and “warrant immediate investigation”. 

“An apology is not adequate to address this kind of behaviour in a trade union and especially for someone who has access to the main account. 

“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,” the committee said in a statement. 

The committee added it is “disgusted and outraged” a member of union staff has the “ability or access to post such discriminatory information” on the national account. 

Adding: “We will be employing our own Trans model policy for full implementation within our own organisation 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 behaviour in our union.” 

PinkNews has contacted UNISON Scotland for comment.