Tag Archives: BAME

Leicester virus spike needs everyone to play their part to protect public health and prevent job losses

The union is also urging central government to assist with additional resources for the health and public services across the region, and for the furlough programme to continue at the full rate to prevent employers in the area laying workers off as they face an inevitable further delay in re-opening the economy.

Commenting, Unite’s regional secretary for the East Midlands, Paresh Patel, said: “This spike in coronavirus cases across the city is extremely worrying.  Everyone needs to now play their part in getting this under control as rapidly as possible with localised lockdowns as necessary.

“There will be some factors causing this spike, such as over-crowded housing and the inequalities we know make Leicester’s BAEM community especially vulnerable to this deadly virus.

“But combatting coronavirus is a national duty as well as a local one so I urge the government to step up and help with whatever additional funding is needed to ensure that the NHS has the resources that it needs, and to assist employers through what will inevitably be an extended period of economic inactivity.  

“Everything that can be done must be done to protect the public’s health and to avoid layoffs and even more damage to an already badly damaged regional economy.

“Working people need to be able to stay home and isolate in order to get this virus under control but they can only do that if they know that they will have an income.  It is vital that then that the furlough scheme is extended as a matter of urgency but also where workers not on furlough are forced home sick that they get statutory sick pay from day one and on a rate that supports decent living.

“I urge the government at Westminster to learn the lessons from Leicester.  We are not out of this crisis and our communities and economies are extremely fragile.  You have promised to do `whatever it takes’ to support people during these frightening times, so now is your chance to show the people of Leicester that you keep your promises.”

ONS report on Covid-19 worker deaths increases concerns about inequality and working practices

Unite, the UK’s leading union Unite, is calling for an urgent ‘warts and all’ public inquiry into the death rates of workers from Covid-19 during the pandemic.

ONS report

The union made its call following the publication today (Friday 27 June) of the Office of National Statistics latest report into deaths by occupation up to 25 May 2020.

Although the ONS found that nearly two thirds of Covid-19 deaths were of male workers,  Unite has urged that due attention must also be paid to the high level of deaths among women workers in sectors including retail, health and social care where there has been a total of 377 women worker deaths compared to 270 men

High death rates

The ONS found that 17 occupations were found to have significantly increased death rates due to Covid-19 including taxi drivers and chauffeurs (135 deaths), security guards (107 deaths), and bus and coach drivers (54 deaths).

In further disturbing findings, the report notes that of the 17 specific occupations that had increased death rates, 11 had a high proportion of black and ethnic minority (BAEM) workers working in them. However, the ONS report does not record deaths by ethnicity and occupation.

Long hours serious concern

Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “Each and every one of these deaths is an individual tragedy and the families of workers who lost their lives to this terrible disease deserve answers.

 “The UK has suffered terribly from the pandemic and in the cold light of day society must take a hard look at why certain workers were particularly vulnerable to Covid-19.

“Many of the professions with the highest number of deaths are not only low paid but have both a long and unsocial hours culture, which often creates specific health problems over time.

 “A full public inquiry into these deaths must investigate not only if these workers were failed by a lack of PPE, but also if they were significantly more susceptible to the disease due to the cumulative effects that working long and unsocial hours had on their health.

“It is absolutely imperative that there is a greater understanding of the disproportionate impact of Covid on BAEM workers and this must be examined in order to ensure that everyone is fully protected.”

Generational divide on living conditions – Cat Smith

Cat Smith, Shadow Minister for Young People, in response to the Resolution Foundation Report on the generational divide on living conditions, said:

“This generational divide is only going to worsen with the Government’s continued radio silence on what it will do for young people.

“The high proportion of young people from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic households unable to access outdoor space highlights wider inequalities laid bare by the Covid-19 crisis.

“This report shows how important it is for a proper government plan that puts young people at the heart of post-pandemic recovery plans.”

Government must protect BME people from coronavirus, says TUC

Commenting on Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups published today (Tuesday) by Public Health England, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

Commenting on Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups published today (Tuesday) by Public Health England, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“This report sets out the scale of the structural racism that BME people continue to face. It should never have been withheld.

“Ministers must now act to prevent more unnecessary coronavirus deaths among BME communities.

“We need a fully funded action plan to tackle the structural racism that continues to blight BME people’s life chances and health.”

Address inequality to protect Black workers against Covid-19, says UNISON

Dave Prentis writes to Boris Johnson urging immediate action on all Public Health England’s recommendations

The government must act immediately to protect Black workers from Covid-19 by closing gaps that create health inequalities and poverty and ensuring workplaces are safe, says UNISON today (Tuesday).

The union has written to ​the Prime Minister urging him to implement all Public Health England’s (PHE) recommendations such as developing comprehensive risk assessments for Black staff to reduce their chance of coronavirus exposure and infection.

It follows ​the publication last week of a PHE report ​which concluded ​that the risk of dying is higher among BAME people than in white ethnic groups – a finding ​that UNISON says needs urgent answers.

The letter from general secretary Dave Prentis calls on the Prime Minister to take action including closing ethnicity and disability pay gaps, bringing into force laws to ask public authorities to consider how their policies increase or decrease inequality, and to set up a race advisory board to inform ​government policy-making.

In the letter, ​Dave Prentis says: “Coronavirus is inextricably linked to inequality. Urgent action is needed to close the gaps in health inequalities and poverty that accelerate susceptibility to coronavirus and life expectancy.

“​Poverty is a political choice. Ending deprivation and rising inequality must be a government priority as the UK deals with the economic, health and social challenges of the pandemic.

“Black workers and communities deserve to have the PHE report acted upon and their lives valued and protected as all others.”

Government must act immediately on second PHE BAME report

Commenting on the second report published today (Tuesday) by Public Health England (PHE) on the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black communities, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:

“The government must act now. Words and promises to do something in the future won’t cut it any longer.

“The pandemic has brought home just how many frontline care and health employees are from Black communities. They’ve suffered a heavy toll and need better protecting now, before the almost inevitable second Covid spike.

“The government’s failure to release the PHE data and recommendations together was a huge mistake. It’s caused further mistrust and damage to the Black community at a time when people need reassurance, not dither, delay and excuses.

“More thorough risk assessments, targeted testing and moving vulnerable workers out of reach of the virus are paramount. That means recommending the use of masks and face coverings in care homes and schools too.

“People will also want to see exactly how structural and institutional racism in all areas of employment, housing, education and every other aspect of life in the UK are to be eradicated.”

Employer signs groundbreaking agreement with Unite to promote more tolerant workplace

Unite, the UK and Ireland’s leading union, and Nottingham Community Housing Association (NCHA) has today (Tuesday 16 June) signed a ground-breaking agreement committing to working together to promote a more tolerant and inclusive place of work, with race equality at its heart.

NCHA becomes the first employer to sign up to Unite’s Unity over Division charter, launched by the union as part of its campaign to tackle racism and the far right in its members’ workplaces and within communities.

The timing of the signing comes as the world has looked on horrified by the death of George Floyd in the US, with mass protests, demands for justice and real change in society dominating our news.

Black and ethnic minority people are talking openly about their experiences of racism and discrimination. It is hoped that other employers across the UK will follow NCHA and support the charter in order to start to make all our workplaces safe, dignified and respectful places to work, for all.

Paresh Patel, regional secretary of Unite East Midlands said: “We welcome the signing of the first ever Unity over Division Charter by a major employer within the East Midlands. This charter forms a solid basis to ensure that race equality remains at the heart of our industrial agenda and our work to stamp out racism.  I am immensely proud that both Unite and NCHA are together, leading the way to strive for inclusivity and race equality proactively by signing up to the principals contained within this charter.

 “I hope that the signing of this charter will shine out as a beacon for other employers to follow suit.” 

 Holly Dagnall, NCHA Director of Homes and Wellbeing commented: “We welcome this proactive approach to promoting a more inclusive place of work. 

 “As Chair of NCHA’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Panel, I am continuously looking for opportunities not only to support and improve our work to have a more equal and fairer workplace at NCHA, but to actively challenge racism and intolerance in all its forms in our communities. 

 “I respect and support the work of Unite to challenge racial discrimination and intolerance.”

 Steve Turner, Unite assistant general secretary who leads the union’s anti-racism campaign work said: “This ground-breaking Unity over Division charter shows when employers and trade unions work together real change can be made.  I want to congratulate Nottingham Community Housing Association, our representatives and officers involved in this initiative.

“We know that racism and discrimination have no place in our workplaces. But too often the comments and actions of some, often in the guise of ‘banter’, cause hurt and upset to others. By committing to the charter, Unite and NCHA will challenge this culture head on in our joint efforts to bring about positive change a journey to make all our workplaces safe, dignified and respectful places to work for all, black or white.”

Marsha de Cordova responds to ONS statistics on Covid-19 deaths by ethnic group

Marsha de Cordova MP, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, responding to ONS statistics on Covid-19 deaths by ethnic group, said:

“Across the globe, racial injustice has always had a devastating impact on society, and coronavirus has demonstrated the deadly consequences of when racial inequalities go unchecked.

“These findings are yet more evidence of the need for urgent action on this issue. But instead, we have seen denial and delay from the Government.”

2/3 families on UC forced into lockdown debt – Kate Green responds

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Child Poverty Strategy, responding to 2/3 families on Universal Credit have been forced into lockdown debt, said:

“This heart-breaking report demonstrates how hard the Covid-19 crisis is hitting low income families with children, especially those who were already living below the poverty line before the crisis, and those from BAME backgrounds. Measures taken by the Government aren’t doing enough to help parents meet the bills. Labour is calling for the two-child limit and the benefit cap to be lifted, and for an end to the 5-week wait for Universal Credit, so that parents can afford the basics without going into debt, and to prevent more children being plunged into poverty.”

Marsha de Cordova responds to publication of PHE report on impact of Covid-19 on BAME groups

Marsha de Cordova MP, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, responding to the publication of the Public Health England (PHE) report looking at the impact of Covid-19 on BAME groups, said:

“This report provides even more evidence of the structural and racial inequalities which have led to the Covid-19 pandemic hitting BAME communities across the UK so very hard. And these recommendations should never have been blocked in the first place.

“Thousands of people and organisations have made it clear that urgent, collaborative and decisive action is needed. The Government cannot make the same mistakes if there is a second wave of coronavirus.”