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Race row over black public sector jobs

CRITICISED: Lambeth Council

A RACE row over job cuts at Lambeth Council is looming after a union claimed nearly three quarters of black workers in in the council's Housing Department are at risk of losing their jobs.

Public service trade union, UNISON, slammed senior officers at Lambeth council, claiming officials are going ahead with restructuring although the council’s equality impact assessment results show the proposed job cuts “will hit black workers hardest of all”.

It claimed less than half of white workers are at risk of redundancy in contrast to the high number of black workers.

In a statement, UNISON housing convenor Hassina Malik said: “Reorganisation proposals which only reduce the total number of jobs by a handful unnecessarily threaten more than a hundred workers with redundancy and the Council’s own ‘equality impact assessment’ admits that the impact on black staff is ‘extremely statistically significant’. Three quarters of all black staff are at risk of redundancy, compared to less than half of white staff.”

UNISON said it wants to halt reorganisation plans to “prevent unlawful race discrimination”.

“The first thing that Housing management did was to try to start consulting staff about job losses without releasing the ‘equality impact assessment’,” claimed Malik.

“Once we saw the assessment we could see why! It is not acceptable for Lambeth Council to press ahead with a restructure which they can see is discriminating against black workers.”

Lambeth council has hit back at UNISON’s claims, rejecting them as “misleading” and "wrong."

A spokesperson for Lambeth council told The Voice : “This claim is extremely misleading and wrong. Lambeth has got one of the best track records in the UK for hiring, promoting and retaining black and minority ethnic staff, working in partnership with trade unions.

"We are committed to putting equality and fairness at the heart of everything we do.”

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