Speaking at the UNISON Black members conference in North Wales, UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “The first responsibility of any union wanting to challenge racism must be to take it on in the workplace. Then we have to challenge it in our economy.
“In these tough times it’s more important than ever not to let racism fall off the agenda, particularly the insidious, silent racism in our workplaces.
“The racism that first tells black workers that they aren’t qualified enough, or too qualified, and all too visible when it comes to disciplinaries and grievances.
“Trade union activists fought long and hard to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race. But we are still fighting this fight fifty years after the Race Relations Act.
“Fifty years after that act of Parliament was passed we know black workers are more likely to be low paid, more likely to have to do part-time work, more likely to be unemployed.
“The public sector is the largest employer of black workers so cuts in the public sector greatly affects the black community and black workers.
“UNISON continues to make the case for public services and public service workers because while our members are under attack, they’re still getting on with giving their all to their communities.
“And outside the workplace UNISON will continue to campaign to protect our members over issues like tax credits. Our black members and your families would have been disproportionately affected but you gave the union the ammunition to fight that terrible tax cut.
“Your stories and experience meant together we were able to tell the truth about tax credit cuts. Together we defeated the government and protected the income of hundreds of thousands of families.
“Not for the first time, they underestimated this union and its members. We don’t stand back and wait in the shadows when faced with a battle.”
Alan Weaver T: 020 7121 5555 M: 07939 143310 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: email@example.com
Fatima Ayad T: 020 7121 5255 M: 07508 080383 E: firstname.lastname@example.org