UNISON launches Year of Black Workers 2023

Pictured above: Wales TUC general secretary Shavanah Taj and Kebba Manneh, chair of UNISON Cymru/Wales Black members committee

Wales’ largest public sector union officially launched its Year of Black Workers 2023 campaign in Cardiff.

UNISON Cymru/Wales, which represents tens of thousands of public sector workers, is looking to create a lasting legacy to generate change by highlighting barriers of racism Black workers face while focusing on measures to dismantle discrimination and race inequality.

The event featured guest speakers including Welsh government economy minister Vaughan Gething who signed UNISON’s anti-racism charter.

Mr Gething, pictured above, said:Being Black in politics has always been inseparable from my trade unionism.

“I spoke about how the dignity of labour is a concept woven into countless religions and cultures, and how important it is to remember that it is dignity as well as pay and conditions that we fight for when we organise our labour.

“That is essential to remember when we are campaigning against racism as a trade union movement.”

UNISON has approximately 185,000 Black workers, the largest organised Black workforce in the UK, who mainly work in health, local government.

The Year of Black Workers campaign promotes and requires all sections of UNISON to better challenge systemic racism.

Wales TUC general secretary Shavanah Taj also spoke at the event and signed the charter and said: “The UNISON anti-racism charter is really important.

“This can be taken to local authorities and NHS Trusts and you can say sign this, it’s the minimum we expect.”

UNISON Cymru/Wales regional secretary Dominic MacAskill said: “Systemic racism means that Black workers are not having opportunities to move up pay scales, get promoted or work in sectors with high pay rates.

“Legacy and change are the two key drivers of our campaign and our branches and regions will support and train Black members as well as support the development and recruitment of black workers to UNISON.”