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Support colleagues fighting back in FE!

Isabelle Rahman (United Colleges Group - College of North West London)

Election address

Trade union service

2009- present - Branch treasurer 

2016- present - Joint Branch Secretary

Delegate to Conference for the last two years- 2016-17 and 2017-18

Election address

I have worked in FE for over 25 years teaching ESOL and English in a number of institutions in London. While progress has been made in addressing equality and diversity issues there is still a lot to be done.   I believe that we need to do more to challenge the misconceptions and stereotypes that deny many people of colour from being given a voice within FE and HE. These preconceptions are deeply rooted and are damaging to the prospects of many of our BME members. Their concerns and the realities they face are not always appreciated or represented in ways that make a real difference to their lives.  

Black members have many of the same concerns as other members regarding access to employment, pay, promotion and training. However, discrimination can deepen the impact of problems faced in the workplace.  According to the UCU survey 'The experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic staff in Further and Higher education' published in February 2016,  an overwhelming majority of survey respondents reported that they had faced barriers to promotion, with nine out of ten (90%) across further and higher education reporting that this had often or sometimes been the case for them. This figure is shocking. In addition, BME staff continue to be concentrated in lower grades within the profession, are more likely to be employed at entry level, paid less than their white colleagues, and not promoted as fast as their white colleagues. These findings are simply not acceptable.

By erecting barriers to progress and promotion, we as a society are losing out on the diversity and richness of skills that black staff bring to education and this is nothing short of a tragedy.

If elected I will ensure that:

·           Concerns black members have, are more widely publicised and vocalised, so that equalities issues remain at the forefront of UCU's agenda and ensure that action is taken to address these issues 

·           Misconceptions and prejudices that prevent BME members from making progress in their careers are challenged

·           Together with colleagues, help develop and refine policies that deal with racial discrimination robustly.

·           Be involved in initiatives that actively challenge misconceptions and prejudices that prevent black members from making progress in FE and HE

·           Positively encourage more black members to be involved in the union so it reflects their needs 

·           Campaign for better pay, conditions, pensions and decreased workloads in  further and higher education

Last updated: 24 September 2018