Dear Colleague’s,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continues support for the past year. The role of Black Asian Minority Ethnic officer is somewhat different, interesting and at times challenging from other union IR roles; challenging because it is not fully equipped and established yet, interesting because you learn so much about different ethnic culture’s and it’s not all about work, but also raising awareness of the challenges/barriers BAME people face at work or in the community. Since being elected as BAME officer I have been able to establish the role of BAME officer within the CWU branch in Peterborough mail centre. I had the privilege to help BAME members, all CWU members and especially Agency workers (future members) to make full use of their “working rights” which the UNIONS have fought for them over the years, to the best of my knowledge. Wherever possible, I have been able to direct them to right places to seek help/advice on issues such as immigration, housing, health and wellbeing, social and cultural activities etc, besides help on work related issues from other IR reps. 

I have attended Branch committee meetings with reports, Black workers annual conference, CWU annual conference and BAME seminars. Locally, I established contacts with various minorities groups such as Peterborough Interfaith Council, refugees help centre, food banks, homeless charities etc. These are organisations who are helping community cohesions and improve lives in the local communities. I have used “Black history month” and other occasions to highlight the stories about contributions/differences made by Black people to the British society. Recent uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) has not helped the BAME communities, but the ‘hate crime’ has not gone up as it was predicted it will near this time; even though last year has been full of news which exposed the shameful ‘Windrush generation’ scandal of the UK Government’s.

This year after independent review by Baroness McGregor-Smith into the issues effecting the BAME workers, it said up to £24 billion a year could be added to the British economy if opportunities are created for BAME workers to progress in their careers, the government has commissioned a research to find out what steps businesses are taking to promote more diversity at work and to combat the ethnic pay gap. Personally I don’t believe people should be given promotions just for the sake of political correctness, it’s not a long term solution for complex issues and could lead to ethnic segregation. Something the local Branch needs to be addressing on similar lines is, why the “equality group/committee” has not been functioning for years?, to help bring these issues in mainstream, our success ultimately depends on this. 

I have carried this role with minimum expense to the branch doing most of the work in my own time. I have enjoyed my role as BAME officer. I like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues who have been positive and provided valuable information in their own capacity. I believe my role as first contact point has helped many BAME members to build confidence to seek help and advice from other IR REPS and to get involved, support /engage (four pillars campaign) and feel part of the CWU. CWU has a proud history of campaigning on equality issues. With your support I shall continue to fulfil this role for the rest of the year to the best of my ability. Thank you all for providing me with this opportunity to learn and serve. “Together we are stronger”.

  Jasbir Singh

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