A tribute to Skip Bawa, a dedicated trade unionist and antiracist campaigner

This tribute to Skip Bawa (27 June 1956 – 21 February 2024) was written by Bill Acharjee, UNISON activist and member of UNISON South East’s Black members committee. It will appear in a forthcoming edition of our regional Black members newsletter.

As a region, we will always honour Skip’s outstanding contribution to our union.

It is with a heavy heart, that I write this piece to pay homage to our
dear brother and cherished member of our UNISON South East
Black Members family, who sadly passed away on 21 February
2024, and whose determined spirit and unwavering commitment
towards anti-racism will leave an unforgettable mark on us all.

Skip Bawa, worked for Hampshire County Council as a social
worker for over 46 years where he first became involved with the
trade union movement, regrettably after experiencing racial
discrimination in the workplace. When I first met Skip in 2016, I
recall him explaining how that incident influenced his decision to
become an anti-racist campaigner and how he would tirelessly
advocate for the rights and dignity of every Black worker in the
public sector.

He was a valued member of the Southeast Regional Black
Members Committee (SERBMC) and in 2022 he was elected to
share the co-chairing responsibilities of SERBMC alongside his
close friend and confidant, Rosita Ellis. This gave Skip a great
sense of pride to be able to serve the committee and share his
knowledge and expertise. His dedication to our cause was not
merely a profession, but a calling, a beacon of inspiration for us all
to follow.

From the first moment I met Skip it was obvious straight away that
he was a person with tremendous integrity and always thirsty to
learn and share knowledge. He was a great friend, and a mentor,
and his kindness knew no bounds, his wisdom was truly a source
of solace in times of uncertainty, which I know was felt by all who
had the pleasure to work alongside him or whom he supported.

As we mourn Skip’s passing, let us also celebrate the life he lived,
the impact he made, and the legacy he will leave behind. Though
he may no longer walk among us, I truly believe his spirit will
forever guide us as we continue the fight for a fairer, and more just

Rest in power, dear friend. Your memory will forever be enshrined
in the heart of our union and all the brothers and sisters that you