Anti-racist public services are good for Black workers and society

UNISON Eastern Black members group co-chairs Firdy Finch and Brian Pereira and regional secretary Tim Roberts report on the launch of UNISON Eastern’s new Anti-Racism Charter

It’s no secret that Black workers have a worse time than their white colleagues.

Black people are more likely to be unemployed, while those in work are paid less, more likely to be subject to disciplinary procedures, less likely to access training and more likely to be dismissed or made redundant.

This week, Race Equality Week, is a time to put this issue in the spotlight. It’s when organisations truly commit to the struggle for racial equality.

Because all too often employers’ pledges against discrimination fall flat. They’ve failed to make real change. Too often they aim merely to make the organisation non-racist — what Black workers need is anti-racist workplaces and an anti-racist society.

That’s why Black activists and staff have come together to launch a new UNISON Eastern Anti-Racism Charter. It commits employers to an extensive programme of anti-racist work over the next 12 months. We hope it will focus negotiations and enliven Black staff.

We hope employers will relish the opportunity to show they’re making real commitments on anti-racism, while we’ll certainly relish the opportunity to monitor their progress and make sure they’re taking the steps forward they’re promising.

If you’d like to see your employer sign up to the pledge, please get in touch with your branch or regional organisers. Together we can make our public services true bastions of anti-racism.


Anti-Racism Charter

Our organisation pledges we will introduce the following ongoing commitments within 12 months of signing:

Our leaders will

  • Recognise the need and benefit in championing a racially diverse workforce.
  • Challenge racism internally and externally wherever it arises in relation to the organisation.
  • Recognise the impact of racism upon staff members’ wellbeing.
  • Set and regularly review strategy to improve racial equality, diversity and inclusion so that the organisation reflects the communities it serves.

Our organisation will

  • Have a clear and visible race equality policy championed by leadership.
  • Have a clear and visible anti-racism programme of initiatives and actions.
  • Undertake equality impact assessments for all strategic-level decisions.
  • Undertake ethnicity pay gap recording and publicly publish results.
  • Undertake workforce ethnicity recording and publicly publish results.
  • Provide unconscious bias and anti-racism training for all staff members.
  • Provide a racism reporting process for notifying, investigating and recording outcomes.
  • Provide robust equality training for managers involved in recruiting, promotions and investigating allegations.
  • Provide a wellbeing support facility for staff experiencing racism in the workplace.
  • Will be anti-racist, not just non-racist in all we do.

Our equality auditing process will review

  • Recruitment processes to identify and address race disparities in equality of opportunity.
  • Exit interview results to identify and address race disparities in retention of staff members.
  • Promotional processes to identify and address race disparities in equality of opportunity.
  • Discipline and grievance to identify and address race disparity in outcomes of comparable cases.
  • Policies and research under a duty or commitment to promote solidarity and tackle racism.
  • Our mission, values, and support to removing racial discrimination in all its forms.

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