Throughout this year UNISON will prioritise the important issues that affect Black members at work and in their everyday lives. The aim is to involve the whole union in challenging racism in the workplace and in society, with the leadership and support of our Scottish Black Workers Committee.
Campaign priorities and briefing sheet
Throughout this year the union will prioritise issues that affect Black members at work and in their everyday lives:
• Ethnicity pay gap
• Ending the hostile environment
• Challenging the Police Crime Sentencing & Court Act alongside discriminatory stop and search
• Modern day slavery
• Black history as part of the curriculum
• Race discrimination protocol
• TUC anti-racist manifesto
• Workplace race equality standards
Report of the Year of Black Workers surveys
The launch of the Year of Black Workers
UNISON Scotland Black workers committee officially launched its campaign at Glasgow City Chambers in June 2023. Speakers celebrated the committee’s work, and outlined the challenges in tackling racism and discrimination in Scotland – and improving the working conditions and opportunities for Black workers in Scotland.
Read our article in The Herald here
Action branches can take
Workplace racism is experienced every day by Black workers in Scotland. This is borne out by UNISON surveys. During the pandemic our Black members were more likely to experience discrimination linked to COVID safety, but less likely to seek union assistance. When they seek help Black members often encounter reps who fail to identify or understand workplace racism.
UNISON is determined to change this. All of us must be actively anti-racist and embed an anti-racism approach within our Branches and the employers we engage with.
UNISON Scotland Black Workers Committee – What we do
- Provide support and guidance to branches on anti-racist work.
- Embed anti-racist practice throughout UNISON Scotland
- Work to increase the participation of Black members in UNISON’s work
- Raise a positive profile of the committee within UNISON.
2023 is UNISON’s Year of Black Workers
This year is about tackling racism and improving the working conditions and opportunities for Black workers in Scotland.
Kay McKerrell, Secretary of UNISON’s Scottish Black Workers Committee (SBWC) explains, “Our aim this year is to involve the whole of UNISON Scotland in standing up to racism in the workplace and in society. We want this year to be about building confidence and knowledge amongst our activists and also developing a strong network of Black activists. That way we will create a legacy from the year that will generate change for years to come.”
Visibility is one of the main issues to be tackled, Raza Sadiq, Chair of the SBWC says, “We want to raise the visibility of UNISON amongst Black workers and members and also the visibility of the Black Workers Committee and Black members and activists within the union.”
Racism in the workplace is an everyday experience for Black workers in public services. UNISON surveys found that, during the pandemic, our Black members were more likely to experience discrimination linked to COVID safety, but less likely to seek union assistance.
Support for branches
Zia Hussain of the SBWC says: “We know there is great willingness in branches to understand racism in the workplace better and to learn from the experience of Black members. This Year gives us a platform to support branches to do that, so they can identify racism and improve their support to Black members. It’s all about embedding an anti-racist approach within our Branches and the employers we engage with.”
- Provide support, training, and opportunities for Black members to get involved in the Year of Black Workers
- Encourage ‘buy in’ from employers, particularly across the health and local government sectors.
- Raise awareness of Year of Black Workers campaigns with your Black members and within your branches
- Seek support from the SBWC to develop a branch Black Self-Organised group.
- Engage with the Scottish Black Members Committee to help link the SBM Committee to Black members in your branch
- Include a Black Member Officer position in your AGM nominations
- Hold branch events and also support Scottish activities during 2023 to mark the Year of Black Workers
- Develop recruitment drives aimed at recruiting Black workers to join the union and become active
The Scottish Black Workers Committee is here to support you:
- Invite the SBWC to a branch meeting to present and lead a discussion.
Review your branch plan with an anti-racist lens
- Make use of the resources being developed for branches including an animation on how to identify workplace racism.
- Make use of the challenging racism in the workplace toolkit. This is based on the lived experiences of our Black members.
- Publicise and take part in training on Race Discrimination cases and how to support Black members.
Take part in learning opportunities provided including the anti-racism session offered as part of Branch Officers Training events.
Year of Black Workers: campaigns
- The Ethnicity Pay Gap
- Ending the Hostile Environment
- Challenging the Police Crime Sentencing & Court Act alongside Discriminatory Stop and Search
- Modern Day Slavery
- Teaching Black History as part of the curriculum
- The Race Discrimination Protocol
- The TUC Anti-Racist Manifesto
- The Workplace Race Equality Standards
Get in touch!
To discuss how your branch can get involved and how we can support you, please contact the Scottish Black Workers Committee: Kay McKerrell – Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org