Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Unison Black Workers Conference
BT Centre Liverpool 19-21 January 2018
Conference Report for Unison Barnardo’s Members
Azam Khan Assistant Branch Secretary & Convenor for Scotland
Caren Jepson Retail
Dave George West Convenor & Black Members Officer
Hi Colleagues just a brief report to provide Members with an update on the well-attended Black Workers Conference that took place at the BT Centre Liverpool.
Over the years Azam and I have attended and enjoyed Conference as it provides us with an opportunity to Network with Black members from all sectors and services that include Health, Education Community, Voluntary Sector and Housing.
Conference has always been a great forum that helps bring Black Members together to raise awareness of the issues that are pertinent to Black staff within the workplace.
Conference feeds into the National Unison Executive Committee so that the voice of Black Members can be heard and acted upon.
This year there was extra emphasis on encouraging the Recruitment of Young black members, which I feel is an important factor for Unison as young members provides the Union with the energy, vibrancy and talent that will continue to innovate and invigorate Unison as a whole.
Unison as a part of its Democratic principles provides Conferences for all members who by definition sit within the diverse groups and includes black members; disabled members; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members; and women members. Unison also has equality groups for young members and retired members. And I encourage all members to become more involved so that there is fair representation and proportionality
This Year was a particularly special Conference for one Member, Caren Jepson, who was a first time attendee and Delegate.
Attending the Unison Conference gave me a huge insight into the struggles that people from ethnic minorities face. Since working at Barnardo’s, I’ve managed to gain a better understanding of my own roots and culture through attending these type of events, as I’ve been raised in a typical white British environment. It saddens me that racism still exists to the extent that I heard at the conference. It was an Honour meeting some of the guests there. David Prentice the general secretary was a delight to meet, and also the Labour MP for Wolverhampton Eleanor Smith whose seat was previously occupied by Enoch Powell. Eleanor gave a rousing speech that encouraged all members to get inspired and go on to achieve anything they set their minds to.
As previously mentioned the core of this conference was focused on young people being part of Unison and being able to take us forward not just with their inquiring minds but with a new perspective on the issues that young workers are facing.
The Annual Social that the Conference holds, gives members a chance to meet in a less formal environment and it was a joy to see so many of the young new delegates dancing and singing to “old tunes”. It has now inspired me to try harder to recruit younger members and I feel as a whole we the committee should try harder to recruit to the role of young person’s officer, so that we can teach, assist and guide young members in continuing the Work that Unison does with Black Staff.
& Black Members Officer
Convenor for Scotland
& Assistant Branch Secretary