NUJ has a diamond TUC black workers' conference
Simon Hinds & Marc Wadsworth - © private
14 May 2018
A motion from NUJ and Equity at the TUC's black workers' conference, which criticised an industry-wide broadcasting diversity scheme, called Project Diamond, and called on the TUC to collect meaningful data on the employment of black workers in broadcasting, was unanimously passed.
Together with Equity, Bectu (now Prospect) and the Writers' Guild, the NUJ has been working with industry representatives to improve the scheme, by lobbying for it to collect data by programme and not just genre in order to capture a snapshot of the recruitment, promotion and retention of black workers in broadcasting. Until the scheme improves, the unions will maintain their boycott of Project Diamond.
Delegates Marc Wadsworth and Simon Hinds argued that a more accurate, comprehensive picture of diversity, both in front of the camera and behind it, was needed to identify where work had to be concentrated to improve representation within the industry.
NUJ delegates also seconded an emergency motion from the lecturers' union UCU on the Windrush generation and children and a motion supporting black workers who promoted equality at work.
Conference delegates heard, at the NUJ's fringe meeting on youth violence, Suresh Grover, director of the Monitoring Group, a leading anti-racist charity that promotes civil rights. He told the meeting that the Metropolitan Police was using a gang database that targeted many innocent young black people.
He said that they developed a "gang matrix" that identified actual and potential gang members that could be used by other organisations and prevent young people from finding work. The biggest group in this database was not young people carrying out crime, but rather individuals who may have contact with criminals. He said 97 per cent of individuals on the database were African-Caribbean.
At the meeting, BMC chair and fringe organiser, Marc Wadsworth, spoke of his promising teenaged son who was an innocent victim of an unprovoked stabbing. After seeking retaliation in a later incident, his son spent three years in jail. Supporting a motion on the issue, his speech was a poignant reminder of how any parent can be affected by youth violence.
Frances O'Grady, the TUC's general secretary, opened the conference. Speakers addressed number of topics: Neville Lawrence spoke of his experience and support of the trade union movement; Lord Herman Ousely talked about the evolution of race legislation, immigration law and the Windrush deportations; Morya Samuel spoke about the Grenfell campaign and Jenny Bourne talked the evolution of race equality laws, Windrush deportations and the work of Ambalavaner Sivanandan, from the Institute of Race Relations. Motions included organising in the workplace, equality in trade unions, race and pay, in-work poverty, universal credit, race disparities in education, anti-Muslim bias in education, austerity and black arts.
The Conference voted to send a motion on automation and its impact on black workers to the TUC annual conference. Around 230 delegates representing 17 unions attended the conference.
Apologies, empty promises and no change - the Windrush immigration fiasco continues blog by Wilf Sullivan
NUJ joins boycott of Project Diamond
Project Diamond – Employment Targets
Conference notes with concern the failure of broadcast organisations involved in Project Diamond, supported by Creative Diversity Network (CDN) intended to obtain a more accurate, comprehensive and ongoing picture of diversity, both in front of the camera and behind it as a means of identifying areas where work on improving representation within the industry is most needed, to provide programme by programme data.
It is for this reason the NUJ, along with BECTU and the Writers Guild, who amongst other unions form part of the Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU), has not encouraged their members to participate.
Ofcom’s report of 2017 found that ‘Ethnic minority employees are under-represented making up just 12% of employees across the five main broadcasters, lower than the UK population average of 14%.’
Conference calls on the TUC to work with the FEU and others to:
- Independently monitor TV programmes in order to get a snapshot of the problem
- Demand transparent data
- Continue to campaign for a diverse, more equal media.
- Support the FEU addressing Ofcom to get it to set equality employment and commissioning targets for broadcasters, including independent production companies and introduce penalties where there are failures.
Conference notes with alarm it took an emergency parliamentary debate this week called by David Lammy MP to expose the government's inhuman treatment of black people who have been dubbed the Windrush generation. They are migrants who were encouraged by the British government, including former health minister Enoch Powell who toured the Caribbean to recruit much-needed NHS workers, to come to the UK to help rebuild the country after the war in which some of them served as volunteers. The name comes from the Empire Windrush ship that brought 492 people 70 years ago this year in the first, historic wave of contemporary migration from the Caribbean.
It is reported 50,000 members of the Windrush generation, who have spent most of their lives in Britain during which they have worked and paid taxes as well as contributed in many other ways to the well-being of this country but now face deportation.
Conference applauds David Lammy for raising this extremely important issue. He gave parliament a salutary lesson when he condemned the government’s capitulation to anti-migrant policies of the far right and told them, in an impassioned speech about the nation’s day of shame: “If you lie down with dogs don’t be surprised when you wake up with fleas.”
Conference calls on the TUC to publicise its support for the Windrush generation and other Commonwealth citizens caught up in unjust immigration processes and encourage affiliated unions to do the same to the campaign to allow them to stay in Britain, return those all those people illegally deported and compensate them.