Equality of Opportunity – The Race Relations Amendment Act 2000

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2007 Local Government Service Group Conference
22 February 2007

Conference we all know of the importance of the good work that has been achieved through various Black Members Group (BMG) across all regions. Without the input of such groups to challenge work place inequality and racism many employers would have never taken the issue of race discrimination seriously.

However due to the recent duties imposed on public employers by the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 we have seen the newly evolving Black and Minority Ethnic Staff Forums. Such forums are only around to show an act of compliance and really have no power in challenging the issues of institutional racism.

Black Members Groups within UNISON have been at the forefront of campaigning for better working rights for Black Workers and have continuously challenged racism in the work place for years.

The setting up of such forums by Local Government employers is another way to create divide and rule amongst Black Staff in the workforce. It also allows for a potential attack on Black Trade Union Activism in the work place as well as attacking facility time for Black Trade Union Reps and will eventually undermine consultation and collective bargaining with trade unions regarding Race Equality and the specific and general duties imposed upon Local government employers as set out in the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000.

In addition, Black members are disproportionately facing disciplinary action and do not receive the same opportunities for promotion or career progression. The Race Relations Amendment Act exists to ensure that the discrimination faced by black workers does not continue unchallenged. It is crucial that stewards are competent to recognise racial discrimination in order to provide appropriate guidance and assistance to Black workers.

Conference therefore calls upon the National Local Government Service Group Executive to work and liaise with Regional Service Group Committees and Local Government Branches:

1Encourage the establishment (or re-establishment) of Black Members Groups in all UNISON Branches

2To produce guidance for employers on how to ensure that Black Members and Black Minority Ethnic Staff Forums or Groups work together to challenge racial inequality, monitor impact assessments and ensure they comply with the statutory duties.

3Encourage and support branches to negotiate agreed facility time to facilitate self-organisation by UNISON Black members, including permitting paid time off for meetings and for the work of representatives.

4Produce publicity aimed specifically at recruiting Black members in local government.

5Ensure that stewards receive training in equalities legislation.

6Promote the use of the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 and the adherence to the statutory duties contained within it.

7Continue to distribute the leaflets and guidance on the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000.