Windrush Workers Rights Need Boost from UK trade unions

Funded training and employment programmes for nation’s great “Black rebuilders” urgently needed, says author of Windrush Impact Action Report

By Thomas L Blair 5 February 2019 ©

The “good immigrants” narrative of Afro-Caribbeans helping out post-war UK has its cruel downside.  The Government’s promised Windrush “reward” leaves many able and work-ready people at the bottom of the economy and society. They need help to rebuild their lives and livelihood, says Alex Pascall OBE, author of the Windrush: Impact Into Action Group report, January 2019.

The TUC and trade unionists have a special responsibility to the Generation’s Black workers says Pascall OBE. They can and should introduce planned and funded assistance for two specific tasks.

First and foremost the defence of their worker’s equal rights and job security under union constitutions. See BLACK WORKERS REVIVE RACE EQUALITY GOALS, April 17, 2016

Second, to assist with specialist training and employment programmes. Thereby bettering household incomes and social regeneration.  Reinvesting in their communities.

Pascall says “this fight for Windrush workers and families stretches deep into the trade union movement”. Why? Because Black workers were “the rolling wheels” of the auto and rail industries” – which predominated in London and across the nation. Some were supplementary school teachers. There were labourers, factory hands and nurses, too. Others were public sector sweepers and cleaners. Indeed, history shows the Windrush Generations were the great Black Rebuilders of 20th century Britain.

The evidence shows that the unions and society gained from their unrewarded labours. All paid their dues and strengthened union powers. Caring for the sick and elderly, the Black health carers and midwives revived working class communities. Thus helping to rebuild severely wounded wartime industries and essential services in post-war Britain.

These are the facts the most liberal-minded trade unionists who profess the importance of equality and diversity must acknowledge.

Therefore, “Now is the time for cohesive trade union action to address the specific concerns of Windrush Black workers – not just words but visible action”, the Windrush Impact into Action report’s author concludes.


The trade union beneficiaries list includes the TUC, TUC LESE Race Relations Committee, UNISON, UNITE and Communication Workers Union and relevant equality officers

Wilf Sullivan, TUC National Race Equality Officer

Sam Gurney, TUC LESE Regional Secretary

Communication Workers Union (CWU), General Secretary’s Office

Other relevant organisations include:  the National Union of Teachers, Public and Commercial Services Union; National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers; Chartered Society of Physiotherapy; Royal Colleges of Nursing and Midwives and National Union of Students.


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