Black activists plan cuts strategy
Today, I had the opportunity to talk with Maxie Hayles of Birmingham BARAC (Black Activists Rising Against Cuts) on the day of their latest meeting. Held at the African Caribbean Millennium Centre in Birmingham, it discussed the impact of cuts on black workers and communities in the region and agreed actions to campaign.
The organisation Right to Work provide an overview of what the campaign aims to achieve:
I spoke to Maxie Hayles at Birmingham BARAC on the day of their meeting. She said:The campaign consists of a coalition of black public and voluntary sector workers, trade unionists, community organisations, service users and concerned individuals with an aim to create a critical mass of opposition to the intended Government cuts. The main objectives of the campaign are; to campaign in defence of jobs and services, highlight the disproportionate and adverse impact of the huge reduction of public spending on deprived communities in particular black communities, provide a campaigning platform to fight against cuts to jobs and services including on any adverse, disproportionate impact on black workers and communities and work in partnership and build alliances with others facing and fighting similar attacks.
The meeting had been well attended and displayed tremendous sense of unity and optimism. There was massive concern about the cuts and its effects on Black People and particularly women, pushing back the rights that women have gained over a number of years in relation to education and employment. The meeting concluded that there was a need to mobilise the black community in order to work strategically with the wider community to force the government to seek alternative routes and to avoid the draconian cuts to local and public services.
The government must adhere to equality legislation and policies and part of our campaign strategy is to challenge any failures of employers and service providers to comply with the Public Sector Duty on Race and carry out equality impact assessments prior to making any changes / cuts in order to identify and address any disproportionate impact on race or other equality grounds. African, Caribbean Asian and other minority ethnic communities constitute some of the poorest sections of British society and the cuts will have a devastating impact on them, whether it is for example through cuts to jobs which will impact on the lowest paid and lowest grades where black workers are disproportionately located or cuts to valuable services provided by the voluntary sector where large numbers of black people are based and funded through local or central government.
Birmingham BARAC will be holding another meeting in the near future and also will be supporting the national cuts march on the 26th March 2011 in London.