Black Lives Matter

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UNISON is proud to support and to have, in a small way, assisted the Black Lives Matter movement here in Coventry. 

The horrific death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the reality of police brutality in both the US and UK and the continued hostility of some politicians, the far-right and sections of the media have demonstrated that the scourge of racism remains deeply engrained in our society and that a lot remains to be achieved. 

UNISON has supported, participated in, and spoken at the inspiring protests here Coventry. We stand in solidarity with them. We are keenly aware that black people have been disproportionately hit by COVID-19.

Locally we have witnessed the death of Darren Cumberbatch who died after police restrained him. As reported by the Coventry Telegraph ‘An inquest jury ruled last June that the actions of police officers – including baton strikes, other physical strikes, multiple punches, stamps, tasers, and handcuffs – were a contributing factor to his death’, yet only last week, a whole year later, did any review findings get released. 

We believe that there should be no complacency. It is great that Coventry City Council has made some strong statements in support of Black Lives Matter and that Council staff have been invited to include a positive statement on email signatures for example. Yet huge issues must be addressed. It is still too often the case that colleagues who are not white British origin end up in the lower-paid and/or temporary jobs, miss out on promotion, and are the first to be selected for redundancy or redeployment. This is institutional racism. It has not been resolved. It must stop. 

In our Trade Unions, too few non-white British origin people are stewards or officers, many do not join in the first place and many fundamental issues are yet to be addressed. This can and must change. In the US trade unionists organised solidarity with protests and built the mass campaign for Black Lives Matter. The fight against racism is a fight for every trade union activist and member, not a select few. 

Equality is a high priority in our negotiating and campaigning work. People have the right to be treated with dignity and respect at work, to do their job to the best of their ability, free from discrimination and harassment.

In these challenging times for all, we can take inspiration and hope from the growth of a new generation of anti-racist fighters who are now demanding action, not words or more enquiries.

As trade unionists, we also believe that a fight against racism will create more energy and enthusiasm for a fight against attempts to cut jobs and services to pay for the post COVID-19 economic crisis. Racism in our society comes from the top. Just look at the grim track record of Boris Johnson. Racism is engrained deeply in a history of rapacious greed by those who seek to govern us. We can unite to build solidarity between black and white people and build a better future for us all.

#BlacklivesMatter #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd

For more info on local campaigns visit Stand up to Racism Coventry on Facebook

SUTR Coventry Facebook

See the Coventry City UNISON statement on our website Statement

Stand Up To UKIP

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The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) made a  breakthrough in the European Parliamentary Elections in May 2014. It came first in the election, polling 28 percent of the vote. UKIP  are not the only right wing, racist, populist party to make gains in the European elections. Across Europe we have seen a rise of these type of parties and further gains for the fascists such as Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France.

The economic crisis, a rise in racism and Islamophobia, and the failure of mainstream parties to relate to ordinary voters has allowed the growth of the right. We will end up in a dangerous situation if mainstream parties do not challenge UKIP’s racism and scapegoating of immigrants but get pulled behind them.

UKIP is neither anti-establishment or of the people. Alongside its racism towards immigrants and its blatant homophobia are a raft of policies the benefit those in power. UKIP is funded by millionaires and has backed calls for even more cuts than the Tories are putting through, for tax cuts for the super-rich, and for full privatisation of the NHS.

UKIP likes to say it is the “people’s army” in opposition to the political elite in the mainstream parties. But it is a racist party that blames migrant workers for the problems in society it is acting as a shield for the bankers who are really responsible for the economic crisis.

Don’t be fooled by Farage’s racist populism, demonstrate outside UKIP’s policy conference.

Assemble: 12pm, Saturday 27 September
Sir Nigel Gresley Square, Doncaster, Yorkshire.standuptoukip

STATEMENT – ROYAL WARWICKS CLUB, COVENTRY

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As people who live, work and socialise in Coventry, we stand for a city that is based on principles of peace, reconciliation and respect. We are proud of Coventry’s reputation as a city that welcomes all, regardless of religion, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

We note that Britain First claim to be a ‘patriotic’ campaign group but in reality they are a splinter group from the BNP, with a track record of physical intimidation of Mosques during Prayer time. We are proud that our city does not have a reputation as a city where those who seek to divide us, such as the BNP, EDL and Britain First, are able to organise, terrorise and scapegoat. We are determined that this will continue to be the case. We defend the freedom of worship for those of all religions.

We therefore note, with major concern, that the Royal Warwicks Club, in Coventry City Centre has hosted a series of far right meetings in recent years and appears to have become a hub for fascist meetings and activity in the city.

We note that in August 2012 the Club was approached by representatives of local campaign groups and a local Councillor and agreed to sign a statement committing to equal opportunities and to no longer host meetings by far right organisations.

We note that in July 2014, the Club was visited by the President of Coventry Trade Union Council and was asked if they intended to host a planned meeting by Britain First on Friday July 18th. The Club Manager point blank denied this was the case.

We note that on July 18th, a small meeting was indeed held by Britain First at the Club and that photos of this meeting were published by Britain First on Facebook, confirming the venue. This confirmed that the Club had both breached their commitment of August 2012 and lied to Coventry Trade Union Council about their intentions.

We call on all Coventry people to refrain from attending the Royal Warwick Club and/or booking the premises for any social or business event. We call on all military charities to also refrain from association with this premises. We will work to ensure they are facilitated in alternative locations where they wish to deliver services or raise funds.

We call on the City Council to use its maximum powers to ensure the Royal Warwicks Club can no longer function as a hub for those who espouse racism and fascism to promote hatred and division in our city.

Signed by:
Darrall Cozens – President, Coventry Trades Union Council
Cllr Bally Singh – Chair of Communities and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Board, Coventry City Council
Cllr Ram Lakha – Chair, Coventry against Racism
Tony Conway – Coventry against Racism
Jane Nellist – National Executive – National Union of Teachers
David Kersey – Unite against Fascism – Coventry
Sandra Durkin – Secretary of Coventry and Warwickshire People’s Assembly (personal capacity)

Sean Leahy – Chair of Coventry & Warwickshire Unite Local (WM6050) Branch

Clive Dixon – Love Music Hate Racism – Coventry

Steve Akers – Regional Organiser – Unison West Midlands
Email your name and any position to coventryunite@yahoo.co.uk  to add your name to this statement. Please indicate if you do not want your name to appear on public copies of the statement.
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