Black Activists Tackling Racism at Work

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2009 National Delegate Conference
16 June 2009

Black members are still facing an uphill battle in the workplace; they encounter barriers in career progression, daily oppression from organisations’ institutional racist cultures and are treated differently when raising grievances against employers which lead to the victimisation against many black members.

There is a common theme that for too long employers have been able to hide behind the lawyers and inept equality policies and the law which supposes to serve justice on equality.

Black union activists need support and guidance across all structures of UNISON, no longer should our activists feel isolated when taking on management on such issues.

The time as come for clear guidelines within UNISON to be put in place when undertaking race discrimination cases, to develop precise methods of understanding for black activists and officials. The need to be transparent at all stages is paramount and ensuring advice and judgement from Thompson’s solicitors on all cases are obtained as soon as possible to allay any member’s fears.

We recognise UNISON work on this matter in supporting activists through training and welcome this approach and providing a tool kit, but it must also include the way we all work together under difficult circumstances where black members face mental distress caused by others, deliberate and disgraceful act against members because of the colour of their skin.

Conference raises our concerns with the National Executive Council to eliminate different working practices in race discrimination cases and actively look to bring best practices to the forefront of UNISON’s continued work surrounding equality;

Conference instructs the National Executive Council:

1)To consider drawing up a pool of experienced black activists across the various regions and service group sectors to obtain feedback of relevant cases and/or experiences on race discrimination cases;

2)To ensure that all future development in this area continues to be communicated across the general membership.