Black members in UNISON work to improve equality in the workplace and challenge racism and discrimination.
Black members have many of the same concerns as other members regarding access to employment, pay, promotion and training. However, race discrimination can deepen the impact of problems faced in the workplace.
UNISON South East’s Black members’ committee (known as a self-organised group) campaigns for equality in the workplace and the wider community. UNISON South East is committed to increasing its representation and participation of Black people within the union.
2023 is UNISON’s year of Black Workers
UNISON has 185,000 Black members, most of whom work in health and local government services, with significant numbers working in social care and schools. Many deliver frontline services, and many are low paid.
The Year of Black Workers will focus UNISON on the important issues that affect Black members and their everyday lives, with their lived experiences being central to our challenging racism in the workplace toolkit. This focus is vital in these testing times for race relations in the UK today.
What’s it like being a union rep?
‘I find helping members during their time of need very rewarding. My motto is to help members the way I would like to be helped if the roles were reversed. I am very organised which bodes well in my in my role as UNISON Branch Secretary. I take my role very seriously and get a lot of enjoyment from it. I enjoy holding regular recruitment stalls and case surgeries where I meet our members and staff. I am supported by regional staff and enjoy working with them. I am purple through and through.’
– Marcia Ming, Branch Secretary, Dartford and Gravesham Health Branch.
It is important that there is a visible and vocal presence of the Black members’ experience. Black members’ self-organised groups (SOGs) work in partnership with other parts of the union to identify and promote our race equality agenda.
UNISON Definition of Black
Black members: in UNISON ‘Black’ is used to indicate people with a shared history. Black with a capital ‘B’ is used in its broad political and inclusive sense to describe people in Britain that have suffered colonialism and enslavement in the past and continue to experience racism and diminished opportunities in today’s society.
UNISON Regional Black Members Committee
The Regional Black Members Committee represents Black members at a regional level, helping to develop campaigns and inform policy on equality and issues affecting Black members.
UNISON supports networks of self organised groups (SOGs) in
branches and regions across the union. Our SOGs campaign for
equality in the workplace and for improvements to legislation for
workplaces and the wider community. The SOGs are represented
at Regional Council and most other regional committees, but are
accountable to their respective national group.
Our current RBMC co-chairs are:
Rosita Ellis (Oxfordshire Health Services branch and Regional Convenor)
Skip Bawa (Hampshire branch)