Black, disabled and discriminated

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2016 National Black Members' Conference
24 September 2015
Carried as Amended

Conference notes with growing concern the UNISON research and statistics which chart the experience of Black members under the austerity agenda. We know that Black people are more likely to be selected for redundancy, and to face workplace disciplinary procedures. These situations are compounded where the member also has a disability where the combination of the two means that although Black members are still the most likely to join a union the numbers are decreasing at a similar rate. This is particularly poignant for our Black members living with long term conditions and non apparent disabilities. It has been documented that people with conditions such as Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) Sarcoidosis and Sickle cell have received particularly negative treatment and experiences at work as their requests for sick leave and support in the management of their conditions which are often treated with disdain and suspicion.

This can result in victimisation and bullying at work, and a dramatic rise in mental ill health caused by worry stress and depression, a matter of increasing concern with recent reports that document the reduction in mental health provision and even with that Black people continue to be over represented in the mental health system and to be sectioned.

Members with conditions such as chronic fatigue related to those conditions stated or diabetes which has a high incidence in people from Black backgrounds find little understanding or support for their conditions in workplaces where racist and prejudiced attitudes have classified the behaviour as a cultural norm or a lazy attitude if caught ‘dropping off ‘ with such members being brought up on workplace disciplinaries for poor performance.

Many members complain about the isolation they experience at work as people discuss them and their conditions. The continuous mal treatment only serves to exacerbate the existing conditions.

The Equality Act 2010 states it is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of their disability though the practice of singling out Black members for their disability continues.

We ask that the National Black Members Committee:

1)shows it concern for this issue by working with National Disabled Members Committee and consider the feasibility of conducting a piece of research that will assist in identifying the gravity and true picture of this situation and that this information once gathered be shared within branches and regions and reported in the U magazine and Black Action

2)that any relevant statistics which highlight the issue and support Disabled members in the workplace be published in the National Black Members Committee 2017 Annual report.