Effect of Government’s Austerity Measures on Black People

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2013 Water, Environment & Transport Service Group
26 February 2013

Conference deplores the devastating impact the Government’s austerity measures are having on Black communities and the most vulnerable groups in the society. Conference notes with concern the severity of the impact on people from the Black community. Research from the Institute for Public Policy and Research shows that the unemployment level for young Black people (age 16-24) is almost 48 per cent – among the highest rate of unemployment in living memory in the Britain.

Black communities and young Black people are being pushed deeper into poverty, with fewer employment opportunities – with access to higher education and universities out of the reach for many.

Conference is concerned that in the current climate of redundancies and re-organisation, rising workloads, attacks on employee’s conditions of service, job insecurity, workplace stress and high costs of living, workers who are more likely to face discrimination and prejudice in the workplace will become even more vulnerable.

UNISON’s Black members working in the water, environment and transport (WET) service group and across the public sector employers continue to report racist discrimination in the workplace, ranging from low levels of pay, bullying and harassment, lack of progression and overrepresentation in disciplinary and grievances. Conference believes that at a time when workplaces are under acute pressure, the danger of equality slipping off the agenda is at its highest.

Conference notes that racism is still in existence in our society and workplaces. The pervasive nature of racism continues to blight the employment and promotion prospects of Black people. This exacerbates the cycle of discrimination, disadvantage and deprivation which is compounded by the impact of government cuts and austerity measures.

Conference calls on WET Service group executive to work with the NBMC to:

1)Seek to ensure that branches use and promote the UNISON Guidance on Challenging Racism in the Workplace

2)Seek to ensure that branches utilise the resources produced on fighting cuts for example the UNISON Guidance for branches on Public Sector Equality Duties to negotiate improvements in equality at work