Institutional Racism

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2002 National Black Members' Conference
5 June 2002
Carried as Amended

University College London Branch (UCL) has been successful in persuading the employer to undertake an investigation into institutional racism. This was on the back of a number of disciplinaries affecting staff from ethnic minorities, perceived unfairness in allocation of duties and the so called glass ceiling in terms of promotion and career opportunities.

The Branch came up against some very practical problems when attempting to raise this issue:

1)The reluctance of staff from ethnic minorities to take part in the investigation because of the so called fear factor;

2)The initial reluctance of management to recognise the problem and undertake an investigation;

3)A hostile reaction by some members who were not from ethnic minorities to UNISON’s request for an investigation;

4)Material available via UNISON which would have assisted in this process;

5)Difficulty in obtaining advice from UNISON on this complex issue.

UCL Branch has the advantage of having an active black members’ group which assisted in the process. Their representations were vindicated by the fact that the investigation made 67 recommendations and acknowledged that in some areas there did exist a form of institutional racism.

In light of the experience of the UCL Branch, Conference resolves to:

a)Request that National UNISON issue guidelines to branches and regions on how to negotiate and make representations on this issue;

b)Distribute a circular to all branches in UNISON detailing the experience of UCL, and any other branches, to aid any other branches who wish to take up this issue;

c)Set up a working group delegated from the National Black Members’ Committee, with representation from interested branches, with the aim of reviewing how to promote race equality issues in all branches and specifically the formation of black members’ self-organised groups;

d)Branches and black members’ groups invite speakers from UCL Branch Black Members’ Group and their Branch Secretary, to their meetings to explain how they succeed in their campaign.