As we strive forward in our campaign to have anti-racism adopted onto the National Curriculum in England and Scotland, James Mitchell member of Unite the Union calls on colleagues and all other unions to join together.
“As unionists, it’s been long standing that our fight for gender and race equality has been in the foundations of our unions, alongside fighting the racist far-rights. Education within our workplaces, fundamentally help to make up many of our equality policies to ensure that dignity and respect is embedded into our diverse workforces. However, going from a child in a playground to an adult in a workplace, and the many transformative changes in people’s lives and in their home environments, which define their likes and dis-likes.
Throughout my life journey, I have heard words used which are degrading and racist, used to demoralise a person due to their sexuality, colour of their skin, origin of their birth, or even due to a disability or a form of neurodiversity. This is at times played out in workplaces as ‘banter’, which can have devastating effects to individuals. As was the case in a workplace within a public transport sector, which resulted with the company taking a bold step, to have “Show Racism the Red Card”, run a bespoke training program to all of the staff at the specific location. The result of this training, helped to give a diverse group of workers, better cultural awareness and understanding, creating a more respectful working environment. However, why are we waiting until we reach working age, to provide fundamental educational training?
My union, ‘Unite the Union’, are a proud supporter of the work that “Show Racism the Red Card” is doing, and as an individual branch of the union, we voted to help support the work of SRtRC, by affiliating. When we heard of the SRtRC campaign; to have anti-racism adopted into the National Curriculum, the branch committee (having firmly believed that this should already be in place!) are aware that to see this achieved, would require the backing of the whole of our union and not just one branch, if we are to help seek government changes to the National Curriculum.
So, the branch put forward the motion to our recent policy conference which was unanimously passed! This will allow Unite to use its political resources, to help build the campaign and add additional strength to the SRtRC campaign.
All of the unions across the British Isles, have fought side by side against fascism and the rise of racism across our devolved countries, every few years we have conferences which determines the policies, of which the members would wish to support. I urge all unions, to send forward motions to their conferences and executive councils, also to the TUC conference, to help promote the change our school’s curriculum needs, to include what I and my union believes to be critical for the future of our multi-cultural and multi-faith Britain.
Education is the key! If in early years, we can teach children to read, write and use numbers, then the curriculum can be used to educate our young people to show respect to one another and to recognise and reject discrimination!”
James Mitchell, Unite Convenor and activist & Supporter of Show Racism the Red Card