EDITORIAL

work people

Dear Readers, 

In the UK, Azeem Rafiq’s testimony to MPs and witness statement about the racism he experienced at Yorkshire County Cricket Club was widely reported in the media this week. What is less known is that a fact-checking of the Sewell Report by LSE has revealed that “there is no consistent improvement in unemployment disparities for ethnic minorities, and that discrimination remains an important factor for inequality.”

Interestingly, the Living Wage Foundation is putting pressure on the UK government to raise the minimum wage. However, life without EU workers seems more difficult than expected according to British employers despite the government’s belief that Brexit would be positive for UK workers, as their wages would rise. A coffee-house owner in Birmingham for instance said “But that’s easier said than done. I don’t believe the wages are the issue. We can’t force British workers into jobs they don’t enjoy or want. Businesses can’t afford to inflate their wages overnight.”

It also does not help that there is a surge in firms attempting to fire then rehire employees on lesser terms since the outbreak of the pandemic. It is reported that BME workers (15%) have been faced with “fire and rehire” at nearly twice the rate of white workers (8%).

In Europe, a  new report from Economist Impact explores how businesses have pledged to mentor over 1,200 refugee women and help them enter the workforce.

Keep Well & Stay Safe!

 

Thushari Perera

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 UK NEWS

 EDUCATION

graduation

Sir Geoff Palmer becomes Scotland’s first black university chancellor, The Voice, 18 November 2021

“The Windrush Generation member, who is also the country’s first black professor, paid tribute to his late mother and aunts.”

BTec cull could deter working-class students from nursing, universities fear

“Professions struggling with staff shortages may suffer if BTec funding withdrawn, say vice-chancellors… Research by the Social Market Foundation thinktank showed that 44% of white working-class students who go to university have studied at least one BTec, and 37% of black students who go have entirely BTec qualifications.”

University money raising … Why not a raffle?, TLS, November 2021

“After all, I’ve tried to devote my career to ensuring that Classics is a subject for everyone, not just the well heeled. Could we make it more democratic?”

Banned words and racism in schools, Red Pepper, 8 November 2021

“Continued use of ‘standard English’ in schools is a key means of upholding racial inequality.”

World Children’s Day – Rights Respecting Schools Award, Unicef, November 2021

“World Children’s Day is a day to celebrate the power of children to change the world. On the 20 November we celebrate World Children’s Day, the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It’s a global day of action for children, by children.”

ENVIRONMENT

Blah Blah Blah

What happened at COP26?, Greenpeace, 17 November 2021

The good, the bad, and the blah blah blah…”

As we run out of time to save the planet, COP26 ends in ‘utter betrayal’, The Canary, 15 November 2021

“Following two weeks of negotiations, the UN climate summit COP26 concluded with the Glasgow Climate Pact. The supposed aim of this pact, signed by 197 countries, is to keep hopes alive of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels by the year 2100.”

Cop26: Hundreds of academics denounce Glasgow summit as ‘failure’ and call for ‘real green revolution’, The Independent, 12 November 2021

“Over 200 climate experts sign letter calling for ‘radical leadership’ on global warming.”

HEALTH & WELL BEING

Sickle Cell Disease Report

Parliamentary probe finds racism evidence in NHS sickle cell care, Pharmaphorum, 15 November 2021

“The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) document – entitled No One’s Listening and partnered with the Sickle Cell Society – found “serious care failings” in acute services and evidence of attitudes underpinned by racism in the care of people with SCD, a red blood cell disorder that mainly affects black people.”

British South Asians face huge barriers when accessing mental health care, TRT World, 15 November 2021

“…59 percent of people of South Asian origin in England experienced mental health problems as a result of the covid pandemic…Raheem believes the biggest problem is stigma…Cultural Values…Familial Pressure…Racial disparities…”

Long COVID Is Still A Significant Public Health Risk, Each Other, 15 November 2021

“The Office for National Statistics estimates that nearly one million people in the UK had ‘Long COVID’ in July 2021. This has added to the rising concern that, even if we ‘learn to live with the virus’, there will be a long-term impact on society and, for those who contract Long COVID, there are life changing implications.”

Deloitte Report: Identifying the gap: understanding the drivers of inequality in public health, November 2021

“The remit of public health is diverse and far-reaching, and understanding the political, social and economic drivers affecting public health, including lessons learnt from Covid-19, is crucial if the United Kingdom is to avoid repeating past mistakes. This second report examines the what, who and why of public health and the importance of learning the lessons from the past. Key findings include the need for: longer-term funding and commissioning cycles; investment in the public health workforce; and for public health to be recognised and valued as an integral part of the integrated care system.”

CULTURE, MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT

Reuters Changing Newsrooms 2021

Changing Newsrooms 2021: hybrid working and improving diversity remain twin challenges for publishers, Reuters Institute, 11 November 2021

“Most respondents say their news organisation is doing a good job with gender diversity (78%), but fewer say the same about ethnic diversity (38%) and attracting those from less advantaged backgrounds (37%) or with diverse political views (33%).” Read the Report here.

UK hip-hop pioneers Cookie Crew: ‘Female rappers were getting sexual – we were going the other way’, The Guardian, 16 November 2021

“In an extract from Flip the Script, a new book on female hip-hop stars, the UK duo remember how they shot to US stardom – but didn’t dilute their fierce politics.”

EMPLOYMENT & WORK

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New Acas guidance promises to help make fire and rehire a last resort, HR Magazine, 17 November 2021

“The guidance responds to a reported surge in firms attempting to fire then rehire employees on lesser terms since the outbreak of the pandemic…And BME workers (15%) have been faced with “fire and rehire” at nearly twice the rate of white workers (8%).”

 ‘Carers enable us to live, not just exist’: a personal care employer on life without EU workers, The Guardian, 18 November 2021

“Katy Etherington’s personal assistants help her live independently and run a website matching up disabled people with PAs. But shortages are so acute some disabled people may be forced into residential care, she says.”

Campaigners urge bosses to stop asking job applicants for salary history, The Guardian, 18 November 2021

““Asking about salary history can mean past pay discrimination follows women, people of colour, and people with disabilities throughout their career. It also means new employers replicate pay gaps from other organisations,” said Jemima Olchawski, the Fawcett Society chief executive.”

Muslim engineer designs headscarf for women to wear under safety helmet, Muslim Women’s Council, 16 November 2021

“Aminah Shafiq, a senior engineer, designed a PPE headscarf that can be worn under a safety helmet.”

Real living wage rise puts pressure on UK government to raise minimum wage, The Guardian, 15 November

“Living Wage Foundation’s minimum rate rises by 40p to £9.90 an hour, largely due to higher fuel costs and rents… The changes will apply to workers at about 9,000 living wage employers who adopt the voluntary pay measure. However, the charity warned that almost 5 million workers in Britain earn less than these amounts…”

Are employment opportunities for ethnic minorities in the UK really improving? Fact checking the Sewell Report, LSE, 9 November 2021

“This article provides some context using estimates from the Labour Force Survey and suggests there is no such consistent improvement in unemployment disparities for ethnic minorities, and that discrimination remains an important factor for inequality.”

 CONSUMER ISSUES

brexit puzzle

‘I don’t blame customers for getting annoyed’: a coffee house owner on life without EU workers, The Guardian, 18 November 2021

“…Brexit would be positive for UK workers, as their wages would rise. “But that’s easier said than done. I don’t believe the wages are the issue. We can’t force British workers into jobs they don’t enjoy or want. Businesses can’t afford to inflate their wages overnight.”

The Voice Black Business Guide, Issuu, October 2021

“You can download the guide here.”

GOVERNMENT, MIGRATION & COMMUNITIES

Windrush Boat

Windrush compensation scheme has ‘concerning weaknesses’, says charity, The Guardian, 15 November 2021

“A report by the charity Justice, titled Reforming the Windrush compensation scheme, makes 27 recommendations after the working group found the scheme suffers from a lack of independence, delays and inconsistencies in decision-making and lack of experience and cultural understanding among caseworkers…Despite the initial estimate of about 15,000 people being eligible for compensation, as of the end of September 2021 only 864 people have received compensation payments, Justice said.” Read the Report here.

Why the Government’s approach to Channel crossings fails people in need of protection, The Refugee Council, 17 November 2021

“A new analysis published by the Refugee Council ‘Channel crossings and asylum outcomes’  reveals that the majority of men, women and children who cross the Channel in small boats are likely to be recognised as being in need of protection…”

One in three queer people of colour experience racism in LGBT+ spaces, landmark study finds, Pink News, 17 November 2021

“The survey found that almost half of respondents (47 per cent) have been insulted, pestered, intimidated or harassed in person in the past 12 months.”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Betrayed by Britain, New European, 9 November 2021

“It’s a haunting image and it has branded itself on the British consciousness over the past two weeks: Richard Ratcliffe on hunger strike outside the Foreign Office in London, as he begs the UK government to pay a decades-old debt so that his wife, mother to their seven-year-old daughter, can come home from Iran, where she has been detained on spurious charges for more than five years.”

 New bill quietly gives powers to remove British citizenship without notice, The Guardian, 17 November 2021

“Clause added to nationality and borders bill also appears to allow Home Office to act retrospectively in some cases… Other proposed rule changes in the bill have already attracted criticism, including rendering claims from anyone arriving in the UK by an illegal route inadmissible, while criminalising them and anyone who seeks to save their lives, and giving Border Force staff immunity from prosecution if people die in the Channel during “pushback” operations.”

 JUSTICE SYSTEM & POLICING

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Race hate crime crackdown, The Voice, 18 November 2021

“CPS boss Lionel Idan speaks of his determination to prosecute racists… The tough-talking Ghana-born barrister said the CPS had successfully prosecuted 10,679 hate crimes in the last year, and the courts had imposed heavier tariffs in 79% of those cases. Latest Home Office figures show that Britain is experienced a new spike in racially motivated hate with a 12% rise in the 12 months leading up to March this year.”

Black boy in stop and search ‘30 times’ accuses Met police of racist profiling, The Guardian, 15 November 2021

“Inquiry launched after 14-year-old and his mother from south London lodge complaint against force.”

 TECH

social media help finger-1002577_640

How big tech is changing who’s in charge of our rights and freedoms, The Conversation, 16 November 2021

“These examples raise constitutional questions about who has legitimacy, who should have power, and how democracy can best function in the digital age. This points to the rise of digital constitutionalism, a new phase where individual rights and public powers are “relocated” among different groups – such as technology companies – on a global scale.”

SPORT

cricket

Alex Hales: Ex-England batter apologises for ‘incredibly disrespectful’ black make-up photo, BBC Sport, 19 November 2021

“It comes days after Hales denied any racist connotation in naming his dog, after allegations by Azeem Rafiq. Of the photo, published in the Sun, he said: “The theme was musicians and Tupac is, was and always will be my favourite musician, so I went as him.”

The nine high profile cricket figures named in Azeem Rafiq’s testimony about racism to MPs, ITV News, 16 November 2021

“Several high-profile cricket figures have been named in the testimony of former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq as he emotionally discussed the racism he was subjected to while playing for the team. Speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) Rafiq broke down several times as he detailed his experiences.”

Yorkshire racism crisis: All you need to know following Tuesday’s DCMS hearing, Largs and Millport, 16 November 2021

“Azeem Rafiq’s testimony to MPs and witness statement about the racism he experienced at Yorkshire have sent shockwaves through the sport.”

Yorkshire’s racism crisis – Updated timeline: Adil Rashid supports Azeem Rafiq claim, Cricket365, 15 November 2021

“Yorkshire and England leg-spinner Adil Rashid has corroborated Azeem Rafiq’s claim that Michael Vaughan made racially insensitive comments to a group of players of Asian ethnicity at the county.”

 

WIDER EUROPE NEWS

Economist Impact Employment Refugees

New business partnerships help refugee women enter the workforce, Euractiv, 18 November 2021

“Refugee women face lower levels of employment in Europe than their male counterparts or native-born females, according to a new report from Economist Impact. In response, 25 businesses have pledged to mentor over 1,200 refugee women and help them enter the workforce.”

 Discrimination in Europe in times of COVID – How to combat it?, Euractiv, 17 November 2021

“Discrimination in Europe is a topic high on the agenda of European leaders and policymakers. But despite all the legislation and policy aimed at its prevention, questions remain as to whether these laws and rules are being applied effectively.”

Passport scans and €7 fee: What will change for EU travel in 2022, The Local Germany, 10 November 2021

“There are two changes coming up for travel in and out of the European Union that non-EU citizens such as Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians need to be aware of.”

 AUSTRIA

Targeting of Muslims in country’s largest-ever police raid analysed in new report, Statewatch, 11 November 2021

“A new report examines how Operation Luxor, the largest ever peacetime police raid undertaken by the Austrian authorities, “was an unlawful and ideologically-driven targeting of Austrian Muslims,” that has been followed by government attempts to “[leverage] its Islamophobic policies to position itself as leader in Europe on ‘counter-terror’ measures.””

 BELARUS

Lukashenko and Merkel agree to EU talks over Belarus migrant crisis, Euronews, 17 November 2021

“Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Germany’s acting Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to start negotiations at the European level to resolve the ongoing crisis at their shared border, Minsk said on Wednesday.”

Lukashenko is a handy villain to mask the cruelty of Fortress Europe, The Guardian, 14 November 2021

“European Union policies have turned migrants into a resource to be exploited.”

CROATIA

Europe rights court slams Croatia on Afghan family pushback, Euronews, 18 November 2021

“The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday ruled against Croatia in a 2017 migrant pushback case after which a 6-year-old girl was killed by a train on the border with Serbia.”

FRANCE

French council of ministers dissolves far-right group Alvarium, Euractiv, 18 November 2021

“The group, which sees itself “at the confluence of social Catholicism and nationalist doctrines” declares that it aims for “social action among our people and the fight against European nihilism.” However, as Darmanin pointed out in a recent tweet, the group “called for violence and discrimination”.”

Hate speech trial for French far-right pundit Zemmour, France24, 17 November 2021

“French far-right pundit Eric Zemmour, who is widely expected to run for the presidency next year, went on trial Wednesday charged with racist hate speech over a televised tirade against unaccompanied child migrants…The journalist, author and TV pundit has two previous convictions for hate speech and has been investigated 16 times in total for his incendiary remarks on immigration and Islam.”

French people have discovered the word ‘woke’ and it’s terrible, The Independent, 17 November 2021

“Take, for example, French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. Allow me to share a little backstory on Monsieur Blanquer: Last year, he tried to settle a national debate over dress codes in school (which disproportionately police girls’ outfits compared to boys’) by saying kids should wear “a republican outfit” when going to class. Fourteen months later, everyone is still trying to figure out what he meant.”

 GERMANY

Seasonal farm workers in Germany exposed to ‘massive labour rights violations’, Euractiv, 10 November 2021

“Seasonal agriculture workers are exposed to numerous labour rights violations in Germany, according to a new report by the Fair Agriculture Initiative alliance on seasonal work in German agriculture.”

THE NETHERLANDS

Anti-racism activists stage demo against Dutch ‘Black Pete’, Euronews, 13 October 2021

“…Amid the long-running protests, people playing the character increasingly use different colour face paint, including daubs of soot. Many towns and cities organising children’s parties and parades to welcome the Sinterklaas character have moved away from Black Pete. At the event in the southern city of Breda, Sinterklaas was accompanied by Grey Petes. One of the founders of the Kick Out Black Pete movement, Jerry Afriyie, welcomed the progress, but said more still has to be done…”

SPAIN

How the coronavirus pandemic has widened inequalities in Spain, ElPais, 5 November 2021

“During the lockdown, the rise in extreme poverty was huge, but in the medium and long terms it’s worse…And the tax and benefits systems have less of a corrective effect than in other European countries.”

SERBIA

PODCAST: Tales from the Border (5): Serbia – ‘Afghan park’ Belgrade, Deutsche Welle, 18 November 2021

“’Afghan Park’ in Belgrade is right beside the bus station. It is where migrants gather before traveling to the north of Serbia to try their luck on ‘the game’ crossing borders into the EU. Here we meet Amir a pharmacist and his family who fled his country after militias threatened to kill him.”

SWITZERLAND

Voting rights: ‘The foreign community is too big to be ignored’, Swissinfo, 13 November 2021

“One in three Swiss residents is not allowed to take part in national elections and votes. In most cases that’s because they don’t have Swiss citizenship. How does it feel to live in the country that holds the most referendums in the world without being able to vote? “

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