Received from: TUC Black Workers Conference
Congress deplores the government and employer’s inaction in carrying out risk assessments to prevent the foreseeable deaths of Black workers from Covid-19.
The disproportionate deaths and hospitalisations of Black people is a national scandal.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to Black (BME) people in the UK being disproportionately affected and being over four times more likely to die. ONS and Public Health England reports evidence this. This devastating death toll has exposed decades of entrenched institutionalised and systematic racism in work and wider society both in the UK and the Black Lives Matter Movement in the USA.
The coronavirus does not discriminate; however, it does exploit the disadvantages, deprivation and health and social inequalities that are driven and maintained by the systemic institutional and structural racism is common in workplaces, communities and society across the UK. Covid-19 is having a disproportionate adverse impact on the health, lives and livelihood of Black people. Black Lives Matter.
Many of those who have died are frontline essential workers who haven’t been given proper safety protections, including PPE.
A second spike will see more Black people dying disproportionately and we believe that government and employers, in addition to carrying out risk assessments, must include individual equality impact assessments, supporting people that Black people live with, and public transport and facilities workers.
We must not lose sight of the social inequality and consequence of embedded structural and systematic racism in our society from the education, policing, housing, politics, economic deprivation and health inequality care system which have been starkly highlighted.
Congress calls on the TUC Race Relations Committee to work with the General Council to draw up a comprehensive and robust action plan, with targets and timelines to challenge pervasive racism in employment. This should include working with unions to support test cases in sectors to ensure fair employment, recruitment and promotion outcomes for Black workers and action to end the racial and ethnicity pay gap.
Congress calls on the TUC Race Relations Committee and affiliates to:
i. publicly join the call by the Ubele Initiative for an independent public inquiry into BME deaths from coronavirus
ii. request a meeting with the EHRC to support their investigation into BME deaths
iii. call on government to take urgent action to protect Black workers without detriment to pay, terms and conditions and to categorise Black workers as high risk
iv. urge public sector employers and service providers to carry out equality impact assessments
v. provide specific guidance, support and advice to Black workers on their rights and the responsibilities of employers
vi. develop trade union education programmes to create a culture of awareness in our society about systematic racism
vii. engage with Black workers in the trade unions, labour movement and the wider community to make the trade union movement more reflective of the membership at lay and officer level
viii develop trade union education programmes for activists and officers on racism
ix. campaign to stop institutional, structural and systemic racism and oppression and support campaigns against Black deaths in state custody in the UK
x. encourage all Black workers to join a union and encourage unions to recruit, organise and support precarious (including migrant) Black workers.
TUC Black Workers Conference