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2015 National Black Members' Conference
17 September 2014

Conference, despite the work done by the National Black Members’ Committee in producing a definition of ‘Black’ in UNISON in 2013 there continues to be questions about using ‘Black’ when addressing Black members. We have also found that branches and Regions in the union continue to use other definitions when describing ‘Black’ members, such as ‘BME, BEM and BMEA. These are not terms used for members in UNISON. In UNISON we use ‘Black’ in its broad political and inclusive sense.

Conference, we understand that such phrases like ‘Minority Ethnic’ and ‘Ethnic Minority Asian’ are in wide spread official use today in our communities and workplaces. However, we believe that these phrases have clear disadvantages in the connotation of being marginal or less important. Additionally, in many neighbourhoods, towns and cities in Britain it is statistically inaccurate and misleading to describe Black groups as a minority.

Conference, we believe that time changes many things, and language evolves, however using terminology is always important in the way we express our intentions and direction. Using ‘Black’ is about creating unity in our fight against deep rooted racism within our workplaces and society. We are and we will continue to be judged by the colour of our skin and therefore we cannot afford to be divided, we need to stand united under one definition ‘Black’.

Conference therefore asks the NBMC to:

1)Work with regional Black members’ committees to develop a short presentation on defining Black in UNISON that can be used at regional council meetings;

2)Produce an article for publication for the UNISON magazines;

3)Produce a leaflet which can be distributed at UNISON conferences in 2015.