Scotland at National Black Members Conference

Conference was well attended by UNISON visitors, guest speakers, serving members and delegates around the UK. It was a great event, delivered to a high standard. It was designed to meet the needs of UNISON members from around various regions in the UK.

668 delegates were recorded to have attended this year’s conference which was chaired by wonderful colleagues who are passionate for the welfare of Black people.

Representing the Scottish delegate at the conference was our Scottish chairperson Rakiya Suleiman supported by our deputy Peter Sharma. Cassandra Mackey and Ego Olori were delegates that represented the Scottish region at this conference. It was an eventful conference that balances good networking. It was also a learning forum for Black working class in the UK. Motions submitted prior to the conference by members were moved and supported by interested delegates with various life experiences.

Two motions from the Scottish region were moved and passed for consideration in the UNISON agenda. The issue of recruiting and organising more members especially young Black people were stressed , as this strategy was seen to potential increase members attendance at conference as well as bargaining around race equality.

Conference event included Service Group and Fringe Meetings as well as Workshops. Delegates were fortunate to meet remarkable speakers, who kept delegates informed and signposted and willing for members to get in touch. These meetings have proven to us all that we are not alone in the fight of racism at workplace and neighbourhoods. We were empowered by the zeal and personalism and love of black people the speaker have shown. This has reminded us to be our brother’s keeper as well as constantly seek avenue and take training/update seriously as this is seen as strategy for going up the ladder of promotion at workplaces.

The women caucus urged conference to continue to support various branches and initiatives that affect black people. It encouraged delegates to fight for their right as BME and remain steadfast for what they believe.

Our Scottish regional meeting was well attended by Scottish colleagues. Conferences issues addressed by chairperson and vice chair encouraging delegates’ participation. New members signposted and supported to prepare and speak for/against for motions close to their heart. Group photograph was taken by our communication officer Raza Sadiq. Unfortunately two new UNISON members had to leave the conference early due to family circumstances. All delegates wished them well and our taught has remained with them.

Becoming an MP/Councillor training session, this speaker reminded us as unison members to get involve with our local community because it is by being inside the house that we are well informed rather than making ourselves stranger to our neighbourhood. Level of interaction was good, attendees were well supported and useful information on how to seek information in local capacity for the benefit of ourselves and neighbourhood discussed. It was also highlighted that as people we have freedom of information at national and or Branch level, and encourage seeking this information for the interest of the people we want to protect.

The highlight of the conference was the breath taking presentations of the invited speakers who gave the conference something to think about. UNISON general secretary, David Prentis reminded us the need to be watchful for one another and remain and operate as one people with a common objective and value. He pointed out that being one will enhance our collective ideas and strengthen our desire to push our interest forward. MP Chuka Umunna urged conference to support the party that have the interest of UNISON members at heart. As a trade union that we should seek to make amend of shortfalls of our leaders rather than punish them by giving our voting power to our opponent. This statement is consistent to our ability to correct and forgive our brother when they fail us rather than running towards the enemies. Our conduct toward our fellow Black people should reflect brotherly love, kindness and patience in the face of adversity, in this way we will be better equip to face danger rather than antagonising our fellow brethren for fewer mistakes and error without taking note of our enemy’s deportation ship which reduces us to ruin. He urged us to keep flying the flags of our forefathers and not to lose focus of the work they have started for us.

Matilda MacAttram’s job around Black mental health is nothing but a sheer act of compassion and dedication for brotherhood. She has motivated delegates by the wonderful struggles she faces each day to ensure our fellow black people are fairly treated by mental health doctors, nurses and lawyers, whose motive will stop at nothing to worsen the mental ability of our fellow brothers in detention. The delegates are privileged to be at this conference and listened to the inspiring speakers.

Congratulations to our Scottish Colleagues for various achievements:
1. Dr Kashina, Kashina for nomination in the standing orders committee for the 2017 and 2018 National Black Members’ Conference.
2. Chairperson Rekiya Suleiman for nomination to represent the Conference in the health forum for the National Black Member Committee in the 2017 and 2018 health.
3. And well deserved award for Raza Sadiq for wonderful service to Black youths in Glasgow province.

Brethren, we are guided by a common value of UNISON to stand in unity. We should strive to climb up the ladder and as we do this today, may we recognise and cherish those we meet along the way. Because if we don’t and say that tomorrow is another day, we should also remember that there might be no tomorrow as this is not the case for everyone!! Remain blessed.

Signed by the Scottish Regional Delegates to the National Black Members’ conference 2016.
Ego Olori
Cassandra Mackay

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