Covid-19 and black members

Black members will be interested in the recent guidance leaflet issued by UNISON national office on Covid-19 in relation to black staff (attached, and below).

UNISON has been working to put black members’ interests at the heart of the council’s Covid-19 strategy since day one. It was UNISON which asked the council to ensure that the needs of black staff were flagged up within the council’s risk assessment template at the very earliest stages of the pandemic, in line with emerging TUC advice. At that stage we were refused, because Public Health England advice had not caught up with union advice. We have gone back to the council during discussions on its updated risk assessment template, and this time the needs of black staff have been included on the risk assessment template.

UNISON sent a paper to the new Chief Executive on the council’s equalities strategy on 13th January, one week after Becky Shaw’s arrival. We are now due to discuss that paper on 9th July. UNISON has serious concerns about the council’s approach to equalities due to the practice we have seen and experienced over the last few years. Much needs to change at the council, and this should be an important priority area.

It was therefore not helpful to read a recent email sent to staff in Adults’ Services, presumably drafted by the council’s communications department, lauding the council’s progress on equalities in light of the killing of George Floyd in the US.

UNISON does not believe that WSCC is making sufficient progress in regards to equalities and needs a major overhaul of its:

  • Staff Groups
  • Collection and evaluation of equalities data
  • Equality Impact Assessments
  • Recruitment, retention, promotion, acting up, disciplinary, and internal redeployment processes.

The branch has a Black Members’ Officer, LGBT+ Officer, and Women’s Officer. We currently have a vacancy for a Disabled Member’s Officer. If you would like to support the branch in its equalities work, please get in touch.

If you are a black member and want Covid-related support with your return to the workplace, please get in touch with your workplace rep or the branch office.

Download (PDF, 355KB)