Britain has a deep rooted problem with racism and most black people have a story relating to discrimination, physiotherapist Natalie Opoku told the Trade Union Congress today.
‘[My story] is being on the receiving end of covert and overt racism from colleagues and patients, being silenced and in some cases blamed by the very people who should be protecting me.’
Ms Opoku, a band 7 MSK physio, and a CSP steward for the south east of England, put a motion on behalf of the CSP calling for ‘immediate and sustained action to end inequality.
In 2020, Public Health England confirmed that black and Asian ethnic groups are twice as likely to die from Covid-19, with over 60 per cent of NHS workers who have died from the virus being from a BAME background, she explained.
‘These are shocking findings that are driven by poorer access to education, healthcare, housing and job opportunities. These groups have been negatively racialised in UK society, resulting in the inequalities that shape experiences of Covid-19.
‘We are told that it’s the system that has failed the BAME community, however a system can’t fail a group of people if it was never set up to protect and include us in the first place.’
The CSP stated that racism is a trade union issue.
‘As trade union members and activists, it is crucial that we continue to be a leading force in the anti-racism movement across the world,’ Ms Opoku said.
Life and death
For some, it is a matter of life and death.
The CSP welcomes the TUC General Council statement on tackling racism and the far right, and addressing class inequality and work such as the 2020 UN Anti-Racism Day and Anti-Racism Ambassador Programmes, she said.
‘But we all must do more to protect our BAME friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. One thing that we can’t do is stay silent.
‘I urge you to support this movement.’
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