Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to introduce myself as your Equality Officer for the CWU Great Western Branch, and in this I am supported by Women’s Officer Julie Bagley and LGBTQ+ Officer Emma King.

We have a current vacancy for a BAME Officer and I would like to invite any interested parties to get in touch with me for further information.

I am based in Bristol and have worked for both BT, and more recently Openreach for over 20yrs within Consumer, Wholesale, and TSO divisions prior to moving into Openreach, working in roles ranging from Telesales to Customer Service to Planning and most recently a BDUK Commissioning Team.


We find ourselves working in an increasingly diverse organisation and in unprecedented times, the smooth running of this requires all of us to adapt to this change and support our colleagues where in a position to do so. PTSD is one of a number of conditions that may potentially impact both colleagues and ourselves, it is believed that in the UK 1 in 2 people will experience a traumatic event in their life. Trauma can be caused by any number of issues, including experiencing or witnessing abuse (physical/emotional/sexual), relationship breakdown, workplace bullying and most obviously perhaps war.
Statistics indicate that men are less likely to seek help and more likely to self-medicate with alcohol/drugs due to social expectations/stigma.

Spotting the signs/supporting someone who may be experiencing PTSD:

  • Ask how they are:

    You may notice changes in their behaviour, poor concentration, mood swings, irritability, panic attacks or in some cases there may be an increase in alcohol misuse and attending work whilst still under the influence. Asking someone how they are in a quiet place is a good approach, even if they do not want to talk at the time it can help build a relationship of trust and that you are there ready to listen should they change their mind.

  • Take the time to listen actively:

    You do not need to have all the answers or know what needs to be done in their situation, it can be enough to let the person talk freely and listen to what they have to say whist trying not to interrupt them or provide your perspective on things, this being particularly important if someone is relating racial/sexual abuse. Engaged silence can be both supportive and powerful.

  • Do not force someone to relive their experience:

    It is vital to give the person the time and space they need and that what they have gone through is an understandable reaction to the traumatic event they have gone through. It is also important to be mindful that in most instances we are unlikely to be trained counsellors and we should only ever encourage someone to talk about their reactions when they are ready to do so.

  • Signpost them to existing resources such as the Employee Assistance Programme:

    It can also be useful for ourselves to access to find out more about how to best support our colleague.

  • Encourage them to seek professional help:

    Not everyone will require professional help to recover from a traumatic event but it may be useful for them to speak to their GP who can make a referral and provide guidance.

  • Make workplace adjustments:

    There may be particular things that would helpful to a person experiencing PTSD at work eg. a quiet area, not working alone, they should be encouraged to think if there are any temporary changes that would assist them at work and either approach their manager or their CWU branch assuming they are a member.

  • Be aware of your own emotions and seek support:

    It is essential to look after your own wellbeing as the main listener and to maintain your boundaries by being clear about what information you can provide and encouraging them to decide upon the best course of action for themselves. If you need support do not hesitate to speak to someone yourself such as the EAP.

For some among us, PTSD can be a lifelong war they have to wage on a daily basis, for the more fortunate among us it can be a sort lived battle, no matter which situation someone finds themselves in it would be of benefit to them to know we have their backs and can hopefully make their lives a little easier.


No doubt we are all familiar with, and able to identify direct discrimination, which occurs when someone is treated differently simply on the basis of who they are, (eg. their age/gender/sexuality) however, indirect discrimination could potentially fall below the radar on occasion in that it appears on the surface to treat everyone equally. Whilst seemingly fair on the surface, being a policy, practice or rule which applies to all in the same way, if it can be shown to have a worse effect on an individual due to for example - age, disability or religion/belief (or any of the other  protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act 2010) then you could potentially be dealing with indirect discrimination.

A couple of examples to illustrate the point:/p>

A couple of examples to illustrate the point:

  • Gender discrimination:

    You have a clause in your work contract stating you have to be available to travel around the UK at short notice. This could put you at a particular disadvantage if you care for young children, and it could be said to put women generally at a disadvantage as they are more likely to be the carers of children.

  • Religion/Belief discrimination:

    A business introduces a rule that all employees must work at least two Saturdays each month, this could be said to be indirect discrimination against any employees who are practising Jews, since Saturday is a religious day in Judaism.

Both of the above examples apply to all employees equally but as illustrated have a far greater impact on some employees, due to their "Protected" status, than others, leaving them at a greater disadvantage.

I hope these examples have proved insightful, for those who feel they may have experienced discrimination in the workplace, directly or indirectly, do not hesitate to contact me.

If you have any questions or concerns related to equality you can discuss them in our Equality forums.