Racism in Community workplaces

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2020 Community Conference and Seminar
16 October 2019

Conference believes that all forms of racism in the workplace are unacceptable. Employers in the Community Service Group have a responsibility to work with staff and trade unions to tackle racism, listening to and responding the concerns of those who are subjected to racist abuse.

Conference notes that in 2019, the UNISON Community Service Group Executive carried out a survey of Black members working for Community Employers. The survey found that in the last 5 years, 75% of respondents said they felt isolated or uncomfortable at work because of their skin colour, race, or ethnic background. The same survey also found that, over the same period, 41% of respondents said they had been personally racially harassed at work.

Respondents to the survey also reported numerous problems which they faced as a result of racism, including limiting of access to training and promotion, and the mis-use of performance measures and disciplinary action.

The findings of the report show that there is a huge amount of work to be done before charities and housing associations can root out racism in their workplaces.

Conference further notes that UNISON has been at the forefront of challenging racism and discrimination both in the workplace and wider society and that continuing this work is crucial to ensuring that our members working across the Community Service Group are able to work in environments where they are treated with respect and dignity.

Conference further believes that key to ensuring this is the existence of effective employment policies and procedures which address the elimination of discrimination in the workplace and the sharing of best practice.

Conference therefore calls on the Community Service Group Executive to:

1. Work with UNISON National Black Members Committee and Community employers to identify best practice on tackling racism in the workplace, and highlight Community organisations which have successfully implemented counter racism measures.

2. Publicise these measures and examples with UNISON reps and activists in the Community Sector, encouraging them to talk to employers about how racism affects Black staff in Community workplaces and further publicising UNISON bargaining and negotiating guides on best practice around race discrimination.

3. Repeat the racism in the workplace survey in the Community Sector, in 2021 to see if there has been any change in the prevalence of racism in Community workplaces.

4. Work with regions and branches and Learning and Organising Services (LAOS) to ensure that workplace representatives, activists and stewards in the Community Service Group are aware of, and able to implement the Race Discrimination Protocol.