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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 February 2019

Hackney: Unite fights racism and victimisation

Unite the Union, photo Paul Mattsson

Unite the Union, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Hackney Council Unite the Union is preparing to consult members on industrial action following the dismissal of the branch equalities officer, Natasha Johnson. Natasha had raised a grievance complaint following a number of racist and sexist incidents.

Instead of taking the complaint seriously, the employer has circled its wagons around the managers accused of appalling behaviour. In fact, the employer has accused Natasha of not taking into account the feelings of her managers - when she made the complaints!

The allegations against Natasha include the complaint that by allowing the union to publicly defend her, she again did not take account of the feelings of managers. Clearly, Hackney Council cares more for managers' feelings than about eradicating racism and sexism.

To its immense credit, Hackney Central Constituency Labour Party have agreed a motion in support of the campaign. However, the response from Labour councillors so far has been poor.

Councillors claim that they cannot intervene in disciplinary matters. This is clearly nonsense. Not so long ago, it was councillors who heard and decided on appeals for dismissed council employees.

The claim that councillors cannot intervene when senior council managers fail to deal with racism and sexism is nothing less than an abdication of leadership. The attack on Natasha is without doubt an attack on the union.

Unite has run a number of effective campaigns in the borough - winning the minimum wage for parking enforcement officers and school cleaners, preventing the implementation of term-time-only pay for cleaning contractors and winning permanent jobs for agency staff.

The council wants to push the union back - but it will not work.

The union has already won council agreement for an independent inquiry into racism.

Now the union will continue to push to win justice for Natasha and demand that the council acts to combat racism and sexism in the workplace.

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In The Socialist 20 February 2019:


News

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NHS crisis deepens: Workers' and community action can save our health service

What we heard

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Youth climate strikes

"There's no planet B": Thousands of youth strike against climate change - we need socialist change!

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Nationalise to save jobs at Honda!

Birmingham bin strike against 'blacklisting'

Deliveroo riders strike against exploitative pay and conditions

Leicester college pay strike goes on

Cardiff Uni: urgent action needed to stop job cuts

Hackney: Unite fights racism and victimisation

Harrowing accounts of austerity at Unison women's conference

Unite GLL pay campaign


International socialist news and analysis

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Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Unite union London council workers back Enfield Labour no-cuts call

Leeds TUC presents a no-cuts alternative budget

Socialist Students conference shows potential for fighting leadership

London housing campaigners disrupt auction

Birmingham Uni: Standing up to racism is not harassment!

Leicester Socialists stand against Blairite mayor

Lincoln students back UCU ballot

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Claimants and union slam Universal Credit

Energy retail firm collapse hits Tyneside


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Related links:

Hackney:

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Socialist change to end climate change

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Students and young workers and the struggle for socialism

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Kashmir crisis - Stop the attack on democratic rights

triangleHackney Socialist Party: The impending general election - Capitalists in Chaos

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Hong Kong - the struggle for democratic rights escalates

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triangleFar right seen off at Oxford Circus

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Council:

triangleNorthern Ireland: Campaign mounts over historic sexual abuse allegations cover-up

triangleNotts child abuse scandal: Socialist Party demands action programme to prevent future cases

Union:

triangleBuilding a new left in PCS

Councillors:

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