National Delegate Conference 2023 : Equalities is everyone’s business

#Undc23 In the Year of Black Workers conference heard rousing speeches from delegates supporting the call from the National Black Members’ Committee, for branches to recruit Equality Co-ordinators and drive workplace and trade union equality for Black members.


A number of the speakers were from Scotland, supporting UNISON Scotland’s amendment and the motion as a whole, and emphasising that that equalities is everyone’s business.


UNISON Scotland’s amendment pointed to a survey which identified that all branch officers have a role in combatting discrimination. It called for measures to embed anti-discriminatory practice in all aspects of the union’s work.


Moving the amendment, regional delegate, Tony Slaven said, “Our union does have a good track record in unionising Black workers, in educating, developing and promoting activism from our black members. Before you start shaking your heads, it’s good but not good enough.


“We must be anti-racist, this won’t happen by itself, we need to organise. In Scotland the pay gap for black workers is 10% compared to other workers. The last census showed that 28% of workers with an African background were employed in the health and social care sectors.


“Systemic racism means black workers are not having opportunities to move up pay scales, get promoted or work in sectors with high pay rates.”


Speaking in support of the amendment Chinny Oreoglou SEPA UNISON said, “Training our officers in race discrimination cases, must be strategic, continuous, effective and impactful. Continuous mentoring is essential not just icing on the cake.”




Kay McKerrell, Chair of Scotland’s Black Members Committee in her supporting speech added, “Scottish Black members committee survey showed that 40% of our Black members were experiencing racism or racial discrimination in the last 12 months.


“But how many are engaging with branches. Do we know where they are? We must go out and find them.”

Conference 2023 page