Engaging Black youth in the political arena

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2018 National Black Members' Conference
12 September 2017

Conference notes that the fantastic general election campaign of Jeremy Corbyn had an electric effect on young people with an estimated two thirds of young people voting for Corbyn and a record turn out of young people of 64 percent.

Conference also notes the report from Runneymede Trust analysing the election results that stated that over two-thirds of Black workers voted for Labour. In addition notes the comments of Simon Woolley, Director of Operation Black Vote who said “that independent endorsements for Corbyn had helped to empower the young and Black (and ethnic-minority communities), what we did with some significant success was work on voter registration,” he said. “In Croydon there was a fantastic turnout – an area with a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) voter base of 32,000”. In that seat, a minister was ousted.”

Conference notes Corbyn’s on line interview with the rapper JME was widely shared and he received backing from Stormzy and rapper Akala and #Grime4Corbyn group also helped him to engage with young people.

Conference, the Tories austerity programme has hit Black youths disproportionately with unemployment of 25 percent compared to white youth unemployment of 12 percent.

Conference notes that in addition in many areas Black youth also suffer disproportionately when youth services and community support programmes are cut. This has lead to Black youth involvement in community and anti cuts protests.

UNISON activists campaigning alongside youth in community protests should seek to involve young people in the trade union movement.

Conference believes that Black youth supporting Jeremy Corbyn together with Black youth involvement in the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests over the past period shows the reawakening of Black youth in politics.

Conference therefore calls on National Black Members Committee to seek to work with:

1)The young members’ forum and continue the initiative of recruitment and engagement of Black young people into UNISON.

2)Labour Link to explore how we engage and encourage Black youth participation in the political arena.

3)The regional contacts to support engagement of branch activities and local community campaigns i.e. pay campaign and public service champions.

4)branches to encourage them to link up with #BlackLivesMatter networks to take part in UNISON activities against cuts and privatisation.


5)Encourage Black youth to join trade unions and join trade union campaigns as TUC £10 hour now campaign..