Trade unions at the forefront of tackling racism

15 Sep 2020

TUC Congress agrees that trade unions have an immediate and crucial role to play through organising and bargaining on behalf of Black workers.

2020 Congress sees the launch of a new General Council task group on anti-racism. The new group aims to highlight the everyday racism that Black workers experience across society and will set out how institutional racism continues to manifest itself at work. It will set out an action plan for change, across UK workplaces and within unions.

Mohammed Shafiq, chair of the PCS national black members’ committee, spoke in the debate at Congress today on the general council’s statement on tackling racism.

Leading the way

Referring to Public Health England’s figures on how people from black and minority ethnic communities are twice as likely to die from COVID-19, Mohammed told Congress how PCS “has led the campaign to ensure that BAME staff were protected in Jobcentres with a BAME Risk Assessment, we forced management to support safer home working and are pushing back at the political decisions to get more people back to workplaces even with the positive rate going up across the country.”

Mohammed also referred to the murder of George Floyd, saying “The list of black people being killed at the hands of the very force that should be protecting them has been ignored for too long.”

Lasting change

He said “The data and evidence is clear – what we now require is lasting change to make our societies truly equal.  This means dismantling the systems that have amplified colonialism and ignored the structural barriers to eradicating racism.  You cannot have a truly equal society until black workers feel safe, have the right opportunities as everyone else and this requires all of us, to self-reflect on our language, behaviour and outlooks toward black communities.”

“PCS is proud that we have a vice president who is black, five NEC members who are black, but this is not enough until our leadership and unions are reflective of our societies.  That’s why PCS union as part of its work in the coming years has made tackling under-representation a key priority.”

Find out more about PCS activities at Congress 2020. #TUC2020

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