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2010 National Black Members' Conference
7 August 2009

The present economic crisis is a threat to the living standards, jobs and pensions of all working classes around the world.

In the United Kingdom where we have a one million young people under the age of twenty five year olds out of work and increasing unemployment across the private sector and public sector. A major concern for Black Members is will we be next out of the employer’s door in the current economic downturn. How many of those currently unemployed or being made redundant through restructures and re-organisations within organisations particularly in the public sector are Black people. The change agenda in the public sector only serves to heighten Black Members concerns over job security.

We must all recognise workers are not to blame for this crisis and we should not make foreign workers or the unemployed scapegoats, neither should UNISON allow the employers to systematically target Black Members out of their jobs.

Black Members are facing reduced working hours or losing their jobs these have knock on effects for example in terms of anxiety and long term health impacts. Debt and other financial issues may put quality of life and homes at risk. These increase pressures may put strain on families and put pressure on children’s school performance.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is set to work with the Department for Work and Pensions on a new study to assess how the recession is affecting disadvantaged groups, the Government has pledged that steps will be take to prevent the pattern of entrenched unemployment amongst these groups seen in previous recessions.

The review will produce three-monthly reports showing which groups are suffering disproportionately in the down turn, which will inform government policy responses. The reviews aim to make recommendations on how to properly target help towards a post recession recovery.

Conference instructs the National Black Members Committee to:

1.Ensure that Equality Impact Assessments are carried at every stage of a reorganisation/restructure and this to be communicated across UNISON service groups as a matter of urgency;

2.Work with the National Executive Council to tackle any forms of discrimination vigorously which may stem from victimisation, bullying and harassment of Black Members or Black Activists when they are part of such areas of re-organisations and restructures;

3.Discuss with the NEC innovative ways to provide young Black people within our communities with knowledge of what UNISON can do for them as a trade union. An example in this time of recession would be to open one stop shops in the Black communities. The mechanism of how this would work can be developed through discussion, but another example would be to have young Black volunteers run such an enterprise;

4.Find ways to monitor and analyse the trends of Black Members undergoing re-organisations and restructures at work, seek ways forward in conjunction with the NEC;

5.To keep Regional Black Members Committee and Branch Black Members Group updated on progress on all activities concerning this matter.