The Black Experience – UNISON’s Freedom of Information

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2013 National Black Members' Conference
17 September 2012
Carried as Amended

UNISON’s initial freedom of information exercise conducted in London in 2012 revealed that a significant number of local authorities were shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs across the Capital which was having a disproportionate effect on Black workers.

In seventeen of the Capital’s councils, Black workers were unfairly bearing the brunt of the cuts, and paying the price with their jobs.

Black women were being disproportionately affected, in at least twelve of the London councils concerned where they constituted just 5% of the workforce but made up at least 23% of the redundancies taking place.

It is due to this knowledge that conference notes with disappointment the total exclusion of black members and black staff in the production of the Local government “ All in it together” campaigning DVD which in so doing, has caused serious offence and appears to demonstrate a view that UNISON has “forgotten” the disproportionate impact that the Con Dem austerity measures have had on Black members in Local government.

Conference applauds this work being carried out and welcomes the roll-out of this exercise to other regions across the country.

These kinds of statistic’s need to be challenged and an alternative to the austerity measures must be put in place to stop what could be deemed, discriminatory practice – we need this information as soon as possible.

Conference calls on the NBMC to:

1)Examine and discuss with the NEC whether a legal challenge can be made under the Equality Act 2010 and Equality Impact Assessment legislation where there is any evidence of discriminatory practices highlighted by this research.

2)Support branches to use available data where appropriate to challenge their employers using the Challenging Racism toolkit and the Race Discrimination Claims Protocol

3)Develop guidance and templates on how to submit a Freedom of Information enquiry on race statistics for branch use

4)To develop a campaigning strategy to highlight the disproportionate impact the cuts are having on public sector Black workers and defend Black community projects threatened with closure or funding cuts.

5)We call for the campaigning DVD “All in it together” to be immediately removed from internal distribution and from wider union use, pending advice as to whether it may be appropriately re- edited to better reflect the union’s wider membership or else be permanently laid aside.