Employers across the region make the commitment to wipe out racial discrimination

On the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, regional secretary Tim Roberts surveys how far our Anti-Racism Charter in the short time since its launch

Regional UNISON leaders Rad, Tim and Becky show their support for the charter

A few short weeks ago UNISON Eastern Black activists and staff got together to discuss how we could turn the fine words we often hear from employers on tackling racism into concrete action to improve workplaces.

We drew up a new charter, committing organisations and their leaders to really take anti-racism seriously.

This Anti-Racism Charter can make a real difference to Black workers’ lives. The pledges in the charter will help employers address the racial disparities in recruitment, in promotions, in training opportunities, in disciplinary procedures and in pay.

We set ourselves an ambitious target to get the first employers to sign up before the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today, Monday 21 March.

But already we’ve seen a flurry of employers — from across the Eastern region and across the different sectors we organise in — put pen to paper, starting with the three clinical commissioning groups in Suffolk and north east Essex (below).

Amanda and Winstonhold the signed charter

So a big thank you to the following, all of whom have either signed or have ceremonies booked:

  • Inspire Education Group
  • North East Essex CCG
  • Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG
  • West Suffolk CCG
  • East of England Ambulance Service Trust
  • Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
  • Norfolk Community Health & Care Trust
  • Hertfordshire Police
  • North West Anglia Foundation Trust
  • The Queen Elizabeth Hospital
  • The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust
  • Essex Partnership Universities Trust
  • East Suffolk Council
  • Basildon District Council

Well done to these employers for making the commitment. Our organisers and activists will keep up the pressure to have more and more employers sign up.

And of course we won’t stop at a signature. UNISON reps and staff will be monitoring how employers carry out their commitments to make sure this charter delivers real change in the workplace.

I’d also like to place on record our thanks to a number of the region’s MPs – Rachel Hopkins, Mohammad Yasin, Clive Lewis and Daniel Zeichner – for their support for what we’re doing with this charter. We hope more politicians in the region will show their support.

Together, we can wipe out 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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