This is UNISON’s Year of Black Workers.
2023 will be UNISON’s Year of the Black Worker. The initiative launched at the National Black Members Conference and at our Regional Council AGM on 8th February, with the theme “establishing legacy to generate change”.
The Regional Council AGM agreed a motion affirming its support for the Year of the Black Worker in particular to ensure the regional race equality campaign remains a region wide priority, to promote the campaign as widely as possible and to encourage branches to consider organising local events or initiatives to promote it. Your Regional Council Officers will be working in partnership with the Regional Black Members Committee and other colleagues to support this project and all branches will receive regular updates, as well as there being a dedicated section on the regional website with updates, useful information and tools.
Increasing recruitment & representation of Black members in our union, winning bargaining initiatives which particularly benefit Black workers, proactively challenging racism and acknowledging the contribution of Black members to our union & London’s public services will all be key elements of the regional campaign.
Early planning and ideas for your contribution is vital if we are to achieve a sustainable legacy that we can all be proud of. All branches are strongly encouraged to start discussions on what you will do during the coming year to meet these objectives and improve the working lives of Black members.
Here are just a few initial steps your branch can take to start things off:
Add Year of the Black Worker as a standing item to your branch committee agenda and start planning what initiatives, activities or events your branch can do, in particular how you can support existing Black members to join or get more active in the union. All branches are encouraged to identify at least one Black Members activity by end of July.
At the Branch AGM, elect a Branch Black members Officer (if there isn’t already someone in post). Ideally branches will have set up a branch Black members Self – Organised Group (SOG) by September, to facilitate a visible and vocal presence of the Black members’ experience. Guide on setting up a Black SOG coming soon!
Consider arranging workplace meetings where Black workers can network, share experiences, organise and collectively challenge workplace issues. And by doing so, identify & recruit potential Black members and activists and engage them in a programme of work that builds a diverse branch structure and a network of Black activists.
Survey your members as an opportunity to identify any equalities find out more about Black members experiences in their workplace (the region will be running a region wide survey but can also assist with guidance on producing a more local template if you wish to ask specific local questions)
These are just a few ideas to get you started. If your branch have already developed an action plan for the Year of Black Workers 2023, please share these by sending to email@example.com
As trade unionists we should make challenging racial disparities at work as integral as defending and improving terms and conditions. In UNISON we’re committed to challenging racism head on, raising Black issues and making sure Black voices are heard in workplaces. This will require concerted and sustained effort from all of us, but the solutions are already there, if we only choose to apply them. This work will need to continue way beyond 2023 to make a sustainable difference and we look forward to working with you to establishing a legacy to generate change.