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TUC Black workers' conference hears of crisis in ethnic media

16 October 2015

Tayo Fatunla

The sixteenth TUC Black workers' conference took place in Scarborough, north-east England, over three days with Time To Organise as its theme.

There was a minute's silence to remember the recently deceased Jack Jones, one of the most influential union leaders of the 1970s. Jack Jones had led the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union for nine years.

There were 232 delegates registered, of whom six were from NUJ's Black Members' Council (BMC).

There were also nine observers, 52 visitors, 32 union officials and eight exhibition stands.

Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, and Simon Woolley, of Operation Black Vote, addressed the conference.

Speaking on an NUJ emergency motion called Crisis in the Ethnic Media, Rotimi Sankore, co-chair of the BMC, argued that the dangerous absence of black press in the community will lead to the voice of the black and ethnic minority community not being heard.

He pointed out that in these recession times, ethnic media will be hit the hardest. He pointed out how New Nation and Eastern Eye have gone into administration and that the Gleaner Company, owners of the Voice Newspaper, are contemplating moving to Jamaica.

TUC was urged to work with the NUJ to ensure that if the titles are revived, or new publications emerge, unions are recognized, the quality of workers and staffing levels are maintained, and workers' rights are respected.

Manuela Da Costa Fernandes, on behalf of the NUJ, supported a motion from actor's union Equity and implored delegates to complain through letters to newspapers when crude stereotypes are broadcast and when TV drama fails to reflect the diversity of schools, hospitals or other places of work.

The conference voted to send a motion on economic recovery to the full congress.

Tags: , black members, tuc black workers' conference, the voice, tuc, new nation, eastern eye, gleaner company, equality, television, newspapers, diversity, scarborough