October is Black History Month it is a time for us to elevate Black voices and celebrate Black communities’ contribution to life in Britain.
Of course Black workers are essential to public services and to UNISON for all 12 months of the year, not just October, but this is an important opportunity to celebrate Black history here in the Eastern region and to continue to highlight the need for improvements.
We know Ambulance trusts have the lowest proportion of Black staff of any trust type in the country: only 5.1% vs both the all-England and East of England workforces being around 20% Black. (2010 Workforce Race Equality Standard report).
Black members in UNISON work to improve equality in the workplace and challenge racism and discrimination. We have many of the same concerns as other members regarding access to employment, pay, promotion and training. However, racist discrimination can deepen the impact of problems faced in the workplace.
As a UNISON rep I have supported many members through disciplinary and grievance processes and help raised members concerns to get remedies. I want to encourage more black members to consider being more involved in UNISON in their workplaceas I am the only black rep in the branch. (With over 100 workplaces in EEAST we need to have at least 5 workplace reps from within black members….)
This summer as part of the Covid19 pandemic UNISON produced a leaflet that can be downloaded for guidance for black members. https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2020/06/26128_Covid-19_guidance-for-Black_members_leaflet.pdf
Racism in numbers in the NHS
(Figures from the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) 2018. The WRES data uses Black and Minority Ethnic (BME). UNISON uses the more political and inclusive term Black.)
What you can do
If as a UNISON member you want to be more involve in UNISON please get in contact with me, and if you want to tell your story this month in Black History Month please let me know and we can talk and get something up on the branch website / out to members.
All the best to all UNISON members in EEAST this Black History Month and continue to challenge racism in the workplace as BLACK LIVES MATTER,