Motion to UNISON National Delegate Conference June 2010

The Equality Bill and the fight against racism
The passage of the Equality Bill into law opens up a new and renewed opportunity for the Trade Union movement to place itself at the forefront of organising campaigns to advance the cause of equality. From branch to national level, we must seize this moment to act and move society forward. The journey of the Equality Bill from inception to final vote stands as an acknowledgement of the permanence, dynamism and centrality of Britain’s racially diverse community. To build a future for Britain that is stable and prosperous there must be mechanisms in place now to redress the racial discrimination that persistently with-holds opportunities in employment and education from black people, to remove the sexism that stifles women, and to alleviate the inequality based on class and the impact of all the various forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice that hold back our collective ability to grow. The passage of the Equality Bill comes at a time of urgent need. We have seen a serious increase of racism and anti-gay bigotry, including physical attacks. The growth of anti-Muslim bigotry – an inevitable consequence of the ongoing war drives in Afghanistan and Iraq, further compounded by the newest Obama-led war drive has been accelerated and given a more violent character by the English Defence League (EDL), which sees an opportunity to isolate and intimidate the Muslim community as an ‘enemy within’. We have seen attacks on Mosques, and on January 23rd a racist and fascist rampage in Stoke-on-Trent. We must seize the moment to act, to remove the initiative from the far-right who are attacking our diverse multicultural society and attempting to derail the progress we have won. Conference therefore calls on the NEC and on all regions and branches to 1. Build public campaigns to promote and implement the new measures for achieving equality in our workplaces, and work with communities to achieve this as widely as possible; This will include securing agreements with employers to put the new provision for positive action in appointments and promotions and other measures into practice, and to use the provisions of the Equality Bill to the fullest; 2. To defend the Muslim community against the increased level of bigotry and attack by supporting demonstrations to defend any targeted Mosque, and stand together with those communities against the EDL and BNP; 3. To assert, through Unison’s structures and links, the call for withdrawal from Afghanistan.