You will have been sickened by the events of last week, as millions of us worldwide watched the horrifying murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on social media and the Internet.
The cold blooded killing of black men, at the hands of those who are employed to serve and protect communities is an all too familiar sight now in the "land of the free", but it also reminds us of the undercurrent of issues closer to home. Here too we have seen the death of black men and women in police custody, with no justice yet served, a rise in reported racist attacks and incidents, and growing evidence that bigotry towards the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community grows by the day.
The disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME members of society is a stark reminder of just how institutionalised racism is throughout the UK. While we await the outcome of investigations into why people of BAME origin are four times more likely to die from Covid-19, we must continue to highlight the economic reasons for this deadly impact on our black community.As racism and conscious bias continue to permeate society, it is an unacceptable reality that BAME workers hold the majority of low paid jobs; classed as "low skilled" they are pushed to the front-line where they provide the most vital services to our communities on the lowest pay. In the deadly battle against Coronavirus that front of house presence is having devastating consequences as we see disproportionate numbers of black bus drivers, taxi drivers and NHS workers falling to Covid-19.
We should never simply expect, in a "civilised society", that this is just the way it is. We must work to redress the balance, to bring an end this current reality, and the multi-tier workforce that leads some workers to feel they are superior to others. Better understanding can be achieved, but only when the inequalities that are perpetrated throughout society and the economy are whittled away.
We have such a long way to go if we are to ever realise the dream of a society living in harmony but our union has a proud history of standing up to racism of all forms, and our group has an active Black Members Network and Group Advisory Committee that play a vital role within our union on behalf of members. We will work within those forums to promote unity and build a stronger, more diverse and inclusive workforce, and to lend support where it is needed in our communities.
We will continue to strive for better understanding, both within society and our own workplaces, but for today, we send our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd, and to all of the families that have lost loved ones to racist brutality, and we send an unequivocal message to our BAME members and black communities throughout the world - your fight IS our fight. Black Lives Matter.