Double Disadvantage

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2005 National Women's Conference
21 October 2004

Conference notes the research, conclusions, and recommendations of A Double Disadvantage? Minority Ethnic Women in Trade Unions. The research recommended:

1)mentoring of black activists by more experienced activists and officers – a very important and effective way to learn about the union and to develop skills;

2)support for networking, which is a crucial route into participation and activism for black women. More support and information is needed for those who want to set up black and other minority networks;

3)more targeted resources to help women attend conferences, courses and to support self-organising activities;

4)identification of black female activists who are potential lay and paid officers to bring them on and make them visible;

5)bringing in black women by appealing to their desire for knowledge and encouraging them to become learning representatives or equality representatives;

6)a centrally based task force to deal with race issues, grievances and so on because branch secretaries are often ineffective in this area;

7)recruitment campaigns targeted especially at black and other minority members, using black recruiters;

8)induction pack for anybody taking on a union role that explains procedures and structures in a clear and simple way; and

9)encouraging different meeting places as an alternative to the reliance on pubs.

Conference is pleased research has been undertaken on such an important subject and is mindful of the need to ensure that UNISON does not perpetrate double disadvantage on our black minority ethnic women members. We believe this resolution and consequent work falls within UNISON objectives two and three and should form a central theme of the 2005/6 work programme for the National Women’s Committee.

With this in mind, Conference calls on the National Women’s Committee to:

a)work with National Black Members’ Committee collaboratively to raise awareness about double disadvantages;

b)circulate widely the full report amongst the membership;

c)highlight the problems of double disadvantage in UNISON Focus and other UNISON publications;

d)work towards implementing the report’s recommendations for trade unions;

e)report back to National Women’s Conference 2006 on progress.

Conference endorses the conclusions of the report and agrees that implementing such changes creates a win win situation, unlocking the blocked talents and energies of women which will benefit women and UNISON.