STUC faces boycott as tribunal finds evidence of racial victimisation

STUC St Andrews day march boycotted as tribunal finds union victimised employee

THE Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) has seen an important sponsor pull out of its St. Andrew’s Day and ‘Rally Against Racism’ march over an employment tribunal judgement which found that it unfairly dismissed and victimised an ethnic minority employee. 

The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER), a charity that tackles institutional racism in Scotland, has signalled it will withdraw from the march due to take place tomorrow [Saturday 26 November].

The withdrawl of support relates to a case which saw Zaffir Hakim, an employee of Pakistani descent who had worked at the STUC for 11 years as an equality officer and who began a tribunal claim in 2014 after being made redundant last year, arguing that he been fired because of objecting to a failed promotion bid.

The withdrawal of the charity has cast a shadow over the annual anti-racism march.

“We hope that the STUC take specific, appropriate action to address the procedural, policy and personal issues underlying their treatment of Mr. Hakim.” Sandra Deslandes-Clark

Commenting on the decision Sandra Deslandes-Clark, chair of CRER said: “The Employment Tribunal judgement found that the STUC unfairly dismissed and victimised its former employee Zaffir Hakim. The victimisation element relates to a previous claim of race discrimination.

“The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights has enjoyed a longstanding co-operation with the STUC on matters of race equality, including sponsoring the St. Andrew’s Day March and Rally Against Racism for over a decade.

“We hope that this judgement will convince the STUC of the need to take specific, appropriate action to address the procedural, policy and personal issues underlying their treatment of Mr. Hakim, but until such time as we see evidence of action, we are unable to continue our support for the STUC.”

“Until such time as we see evidence of action, we are unable to continue our support for the STUC.” Sandra Deslandes-Clark

The presiding tribunal Judge Clair McManus dismissed arguments made by general secretary of the STUC Grahame Smith during the case. She stated that the union had failed to “follow correct redundancy procedures” by not offering equivalent job vacancies and not holding proper minuted meetings.

The march has been organised this year by the STUC Black Workers’ Committee on the theme ‘No Racism: Protecting Rights, Defending Communities’.

Deslandes-Clark added: “Regarding our commitment to provide a speaker and attend the St. Andrew’s Day March and Rally as a supporting organisation, we now feel that this would be inappropriate.

“It is our responsibility as an anti-racist organisation to take a stand against victimisation, even where our own interests are at stake.”

The STUC did not respond to requests for comment from CommonSpace by time of publication.

Picture courtesy of Stephen Smellie

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