MAKING SENSE OF DIGNITY IN THE WORK PLACE FOR BLACK WORKERS

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Conference
2015 National Black Members' Conference
Date
16 September 2014
Decision
Carried

Conference notes that many employers have in place Dignity at Work or Anti Bullying and Harassment policies. These policies are intended to allow all employees to work in a respectful and dignified environment where we can and should feel valued and respected. Many local authorities have put in place a Dignity at Work policy which will state that as an employer they will treat all employees with dignity and respect.

Unfortunately, there are too many times when we know black workers have expressed regular experiences of undignified and unfair treatment in the workplace. Where they, as black workers, continue to experience on a daily basis, disrespect, condescension, ridicule, and are treated with little or no dignity at all. Many of us have supported black members who have experienced this behaviour in the work place.

Dignity in the work place policies have sometimes failed to work for black workers and undermine black workers capability, leaving them feeling humiliated, intimidated and undervalued. Being made to feel that your contribution as a team member is less important than your white colleagues on a regular basis can result in:

a) Poor morale

b) Loss of confidence and low self esteem

c) Poor performance

d) Isolation

e) Increased sickness absence or resignation

Conference, neither of us expects unconditional and spontaneous friendship from our colleagues and managers, but what we do expect is to be treated with dignity and respect and to be free from harassment, subtle avoidance and other discriminatory practices.

We instruct the National Black Members Committee to undertake the following:

1)An audit of existing Dignity at Work, Anti Bullying and Harassment policies used by employers from a variety of sectors and parts of the UK;

2)To produce a draft policy document which includes a ‘what works best’ Dignity at Work and Anti Bullying and Harassment policy for Black Workers so that this document can act as a template in supporting Black Workers in the workplace;

3)That this policy is sent out to all branch Black members groups and Regional Black Members Committees for consultation with a deadline for responses back;

4)That responses from Branch and Regional level are then incorporated into a final document which could be entitled ‘How to support Black Members better in the workplace, Addressing Dignity at Work issues’;

5)That this document could include guidance notes as to how Collective Bargaining, Equality issues, Negotiation and Support of Black Workers can be improved within the workplace.