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Home  »   BAME   »   Standing up to Racism

Standing up to Racism

PDA Organising Assistant, Manuella Asso attended the Stand Up To Racism Trade Union Conference last month which focused on fighting for Anti-Racist Workplaces.

Tue 22nd March 2022 The PDA

The “Standing up to Racism” conference brought together members and activists from different unions across multiple sectors in the UK to challenge the government’s divide and rule tactic that empowers and reinforces racist behaviours. It also served to galvanise efforts to maximise union turnout for the demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on the UN’s day for anti-racism.

The event gave around 1,000 union activists an opportunity to come together, share experiences and actions they have taken to lead the fight of racial injustice and drive the work on anti-racism within their own unions. This was followed by several workshops including a discussion on the Nationality and Borders bill which will take away the right to seek asylum in the UK and the government’s new policing bill which further targets Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists, many of whom may already be subject to discriminatory treatment at the hand of the police.

The conference shed new light on the negative impact Covid-19 had on black and other minority people at the height of the pandemic and reminded us that impact wasn’t because of this population’s genetic makeup as we were originally led to believe, but due to the unfair socio-economic conditions that some people from minority groups had been subject to for years.

Attendees heard from leading unions, explaining the need to get accurate data from members in order to better inform campaigns. Other unions also shared their manifesto on tackling racism which included de-colonising education, developing the skills and confidence of reps and organising and reaching out to non-unionised workplaces. The PDA LGBT+ Network Committee has taken a similar approach on education by writing to the Pharmacy Schools Council to encourage them to review the MPharm curriculum and make it more inclusive by ensuring comprehensive LGBT+ education and consider incorporating LGBT+ patients in the teaching.

Some speakers emphasised collaborating to strengthen the voice of the labour force and create better working conditions for low-income workers. The PDA understands that we can achieve far more for our members by working together nationally and internationally, hence we are affiliated with the GFTU, STUC, ICTU and EPhEU.

Members who experience racism in their workplace should contact the PDA Service Centre and are encouraged to consider what actions could help ensure their workplaces are actively anti-racist.

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