‘Walkout’ by black members at UCU event

A University and College Union event saw ‘an outburst and walkout’ by black members in protest at the union’s alleged failure to tackle race issues

November 19, 2014

The UCU’s annual equality conference took place from 13 to 15 November in Manchester.

A statement released by Jim Thakoordin, who describes himself as the union’s longest-serving black member, said there was “an outburst and walkout at the beginning of the conference by 75 per cent of black delegates present” on 14 November.

The former college principal said he was refused permission to speak about a statement released under the name of “black members of UCU” and distributed at the conference.

The statement says that there are “nearly 11,000 Black members within the UCU representing over 10 per cent of the union membership and contributing around £1 million towards the UCU annually”.

But the statement accuses the union of having “ignored various reports, petitions, letters and representations” from the Black Members’ Standing Committee. There is “no trust or confidence in the UCU’s commitment towards fighting racism at the workplace and eradicating institutional racism from its structures and services”, it added.

The statement demands “that the UCU and NEC leadership take race issues seriously, implement ALL Congress motions; train, use and support Black caseworkers; set up Regional Black Members’ Networks; ensure that Black members are represented at least proportionately within all the UCU structures; treat the BMSC decisions and advice seriously; put into practice its anti-racist strategies and policies; challenge workplace institutions to end the workplace cycle of discrimination and let it be known that the UCU is committed to eradicating racial discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimisation at work and within the UCU”.

According to Mr Thakoordin “conference centre staff and security were called” after the chair refused him permission to speak. “Formal proceedings were suspended while some black members were removed from the hall,” he said.

He continued: “The majority of black members remaining in the hall walked out in solidarity and as a protest against the chair’s ruling that restricted any opportunity to speak on the issues highlighted in their paper. They stayed out of the conference hall in protest during the Secretary General Sally Hunt’s address, returning to the hall for the keynote address and the rest of the conference.”

A UCU spokesman said: “UCU doesn’t comment on internal events. We strongly defend our record in standing up for all our members, including highlighting the continuing discrimination many black members face in the workplace.”

john.morgan@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest