Defending Our Public Services

Back to all Motions

2012 National Black Members' Conference
21 September 2011
Carried as Amended

Conference believes that since taking office the Con-Dem government has had a devastating effect on all communities in the UK. Their policies have hurt the economy, the jobs and livelihoods of working people and slammed the barriers down on higher education for young people. Their rhetoric on race, immigration and multiculturalism have sought to divide us and brought succour to the far-right.

Conference notes that even the Home Secretary has admitted what the real cost of her Government’s policies will be, stating in June 2010 that there were “real risks that women, ethnic minorities, disabled people and older people will be disproportionately affected.”

The disproportionate impact on Black workers and their communities of public service cuts has not yet been truly measured and yet the shockwaves of lost jobs and lost hopes within our communities is palpable.

Conference believes that the invisibility of Black communities within the public discussions on cuts and job losses must be addressed. It is predicted that at least half a million public sector workers will lose their jobs and that within these job losses, Black workers are likely to be overrepresented.

UNISON has more than a million members delivering essential services to the public, services that have often depended for their existence on the hard work and dedication of Black workers, now and in the past. These services matter to the most vulnerable people in society.

UNISON’s members in the community and voluntary sector have also been badly affected, despite the Government’s rhetoric about the Big Society. Half of the voluntary and community organisations that work with Black people in the UK depend on statutory funding. Public sector funding cuts are likely to have the biggest impact on organisations serving Black communities.

Conference believes that defending public services is a vital issue for Black communities in the UK and calls upon UNISON to ensure that race equality is integral to this fight. Essential to this is continuing the work to ensure improved representation of Black members and their concerns on UNISON’s bargaining agenda and in the union’s mainstream structures.

Conference, Black members need to become activists to assist and ensure their branch’s and regions are fully aware and supported in their attempts to work with local Black communities and Black led Third sector organisations whose funding is also being hit, the role of branch Black Members SOG’s and Regional Black Members Committee’s have never been more crucial than at any other time in our collective history.

Conference, Black Members need to be more visible in all local, regional and national campaigns, UNISON is not only providing funding but also has a whole additional level of resources to assist us as lay members to fight unfair dismissal, discrimination and racially motivated or trade union activities related redundancies amongst Black members.

Conference now is the time for Black members and activists to stand shoulder to shoulder with their brothers and sisters and fully participate in fighting the ConDem cuts. ‘Yes we Can’ fight together and be successful as part of the collective trade union campaigning.

This Conference calls upon the National Black Members’ Committee to work with the National Executive Council to ensure that:

1.race equality is a key part UNISON’s anti-cuts campaigns both nationally and within local communities;

2.‘Challenging Racism in the Workplace’ continues to be a priority for UNISON’s work both nationally and regionally;

3.research into the true impact of public service cuts on Black workers be undertaken and its results publicised in the Annual Report for the 2013 conference.

4.Improvements are made to UNISON’s statistics and data on its Black members in order to better determine issues of fair representation with a report on progress in the Annual Report for the 2013 conference.

5.resources are produced to support the work of regional and branch self-organised groups to encourage Black member recruitment and activity based on and linked to the branch JABO process and the regional strategic plan targets in the regional Black members committee annual workplans.

6.Regular updates are sent to regional Black members committee’s about how the fighting fund is being successfully used by regions and branch’s to supporting Black Members facing job losses

7. Regions continue to support and provide campaigning resources for branch and regional campaigns and ensure all equality legislation tools are fully utilised in fighting the ConDem cuts.