Promoting the Anti Racism Charter in the public sector

Back to all Motions

2023 National Local Government Service Group Conference
17 February 2023

With the de-funding of public sector bodies, from a government which has little interest in the welfare needs of its citizens. It is no surprise that amongst those facing the most targeted hostile barriers are our Black members.

The Tory anti-immigrant agenda has fuelled increased hatred and attacks on our Black communities across the country. Which has then fed into an increase of work placed racist discrimination, where Black members face the brunt of decisions which disproportionately penalise.

Local government has long been the domain which has seen initiatives and progress in challenging all forms of discrimination.

More women are employed in the public sector, and it pays them better than the private sector. The public sector also has more transparent recruitment policies and has a long history of promotion of its equality and diversity through its values and traditions.

Despite this. It is not immune to racist behaviour being present in its workforce or the actions that it takes. The public sector still perpetrates practices which lead to discriminatory outcomes.

This motion calls on Local Government Conference to take its place at the forefront of combatting racial discrimination.

The Anti Racism Charter, launched on the United Nations Day for Elimination of Racism in March 2022, was completed by the Black members in Eastern Region. It has been widely taken onboard by many employers in Eastern region, local authorities, NHS trusts, clinical commissioning groups, police forces, a public law firm, and Further Education establishments have all signed the charter and pledged to adopt and deliver on its pledge.

The charter contains a clear list of actions for employers to work on that will address issues of institutionalised racism. Once an employer signs the charter, the branch is provided additional support on how to ensure that the employer delivers on their commitments.

Conference we know that:

1)authorities and other public sector bodies across our service groups Black members are facing job losses, impaired access to training, discrimination, bullying and restricted career development;

2)through our case work, for too long these employers have made public commitments to tackle race discrimination but have failed to convert words into action;

3)the best way to deliver race equality in public services is for Black workers to join UNISON and then lead the union’s negotiations with the employer;

4)Black members self-organisation exists to create space and opportunities to identify their own priority issues and they remain the best ways to deliver progress;

The work done by Eastern Black members needs to be more widely applauded. It now needs to be promoted far and wide. Across all of our regions and the devolved nations of our union. To begin to achieve this aim and see the public sector deliver for our Black members:

We ask the Local Government SGE to:

a)Circulate the Anti Racism Charter to all regional committees asking that they promote the charter to their branches;

b)Use all communication channels at their disposal, encouraging Black members to become active in their union;

c)Write to all branch secretaries and remind them that Black members should always be involved – if not lead – negotiating and bargaining on race equality issues and on all other issues where a Black member is deemed part of the senior negotiating team;

d)Send the charter to the General Secretary and National Executive Council and request consideration of how it can promote and supported across the union.