Corporate LGBTQ+ support group sparks trade union backlash

Union activists from Solidarność ‘80 trade union criticised Volvo’s advertisement of an LGBTQ+ support group at its factory in Wrocław.

“On the employer’s screens [at the cafeteria] there were invites displayed, information that something like this is operating at the company. It was being displayed during every break, workers were looking at it. Strong words were used, the unions reacted, they were against this type of information,” said Grzegorz Zachara, the head of Solidarność ‘80 trade union at Volvo.

According to Zachara, so far the management of the factory has not responded to the protests voiced by the union. However the ad has been taken off the screen.

“We leave our sexuality, our views, at the gate of the factory. At work we’re equal, we’ve got the same shirts, we do not discuss our sexual preferences, political preferences, religious preferences, in order not to introduce additional divisions or conflict. So that no one would be discriminated against,” added Zachara, “We are not against minorities,” he stated.

“The company in no way verifies who joins this group, in what character or for what reason,” says Volvo. The company assures it never required any personal information from its employees, including information on sexual orientation.

The support group has been active for at least a year and has not faced any major backlash before.

Volvo came under criticism over LGBT issues once before, however that time from the LGBT community and like-minded supporters. The criticism came over an ad published by Volvo in May. It was published in two version, the English version featured a same sex couple, looking at a little girl in a toy car, while the Polish version featured a man and a woman, looking at a little boy in a toy car. The skin tone of the people in the ad was also lighter in the Polish version.