Unison is urging the Commission for Racial Equality to use its
legal powers against Hackney Council after a report by the public
sector union uncovered instances of institutional racism.
The 10,000-word document sent to the CRE includes half a dozen case
studies of individuals who have experienced persistent
The report urges the race relations watchdog to strengthen its
enforcement of the non-discrimination notice it served on the
council in December 2000 – the second to be served on the council
in 20 years.
It was issued after a two-year investigation by the CRE uncovered
widespread discrimination and noted that the council had failed to
take adequate action after proven acts of racial discrimination.
The local authority, which between 1993 and 1997 faced 99
employment tribunals on the grounds of racial discrimination, is
the only employer in the country to have received two notices from
Unison’s report alleges that it has not improved and that black
members of staff are continuing to be victims of racism.
Jane Holgate, secretary of Hackney Trades Union Council, said the
council had been given a chance to put “its house in order” but had
not done so. “It is in the hands of the CRE now and if it has any
teeth it will do something,” she added.
Three Unison officials have been suspended for gross misconduct by
the council, which is alleging that a draft version of the report
that criticised a number of senior officers was defamatory.
In an open letter, council chief executive Max Callar said the
authority would not comment on the suspension as those involved
were being investigated.
He added: “Hackney Council is committed to eliminating race
discrimination, wherever it exists both internally and externally.
We are working with partners to improve the situation in the
borough as a whole.”