RCM Briefing - Report of the TUC Black Workers' Conference, April 2017

From 7th - 9th April 2017 the RCM attended the annual TUC Black Workers' Conference. The RCM delegation joined BME trade unionists from across the TUC’s affiliated unions to debate motions of importance to black workers.

The RCM delegation was made up of four RCM members/staff including:

  • Amy Leversidge, Employment Relations Advisor;
  • Janet Fyle, Professional Policy Advisor,
  • Janet Ballintine, RCM Workplace Representative; and
  • Veronica Morgan, RCM Workplace Representative

The RCM’s motion to conference was on Bullying and Harassment in the NHS. We also seconded two motions: Under-Representation of BME Groups and Mental Health Outcomes in BME Communities. All three motions were voted for unanimously.

As always, we were very warmly welcomed by the TUC and other trade unions and had an inspiring time at the conference.

Janet Ballintine said: “The TUC Black Workers Conference which took place on the 7th - 9th April in London was invigorating, enlightening, informative and it motivated me look at what support is available for black members within the RCM organisation and looking at setting up a self-organised group. I was able to network with a variety of member unions despite their size, as the TUC umbrella makes this possible.

"The advantage was being at a conference with like-minded people from inside and outside of the NHS who were clearly faced with similar problems and issues which didn’t relate to their capability. These issues were linked by the common theme of facing difficulties which don’t pertain to your capability to do a job, but in lack of opportunities to shine, as a result of race, religion & belief, sexuality, gender, etc. Then, when these opportunities do arise, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome.”

Veronica Morgan said: “I was really excited to get a place to attend the TUC Black Workers’ conference in April. I spoke on the first day of conference to second a motion about under-representation of BME workers. I was pleased to support this motion because the evidence of under representation of black workers is well documented nationally and internationally. I was told that as a first time attender you will get a loud applause and I did! I felt very appreciated.

"One of the highlights for me was Frances O’Grady’s (the General Secretary of the TUC) opening speech which was very uplifting and filled with enthusiasm. The nature of the conference obviously focuses on the issues relating to the black population such as better deals for black workers in the labour market, migrant workers, Brexit, racism, hate crimes, race discrimination in the workplace and engaging with young black workers. The three days at the conference reinforced to me that not a lot has changed from the Black Report that highlighted all of these issues which are sadly still being discussed today. The conference did contribute and highlight the structural and institutional nature of these issues within the workplace.”