October was Black History Month and I am pleased that TSSA has been active and focussed on bringing people together around issues of race in the workplace. In response to our members who are BAME and who wish to support BAME colleagues, we have established our Going Beyond for Racial Equality Community of Practice, to explore what we can do as a union to improve equality, diversity and inclusion for BAME people in our workplaces.
Over the past two years we have worked to build an active BAME network and really explore the lived experiences of our members who are from black, asian and minority ethnicity communities. Unfortunately for some members, those experiences have included casual and blatant racism, subtle micro-aggressions and experiences that make workplaces feel unsafe, unsupportive and in some cases hostile. The impact on people facing this kind of environment each day, is extremely damaging to mental health, self-esteem and their ability to perform and contribute at work. In some cases, safety can be compromised, where bias and prejudice clouds the decision making and reactions of people in safety critical roles and roles that manage other people. During the covid pandemic, safety for BAME people has been a significant concern. Our BAME members who are key workers have raised concerns about their exposure to Covid-19 through their job roles and we have worked tirelessly with employers and government to ensure they and others are safe. In times when you know you are at a higher risk than other people, you need to also feel confident your concerns are being heard and will be addressed, and that you are safe at work. More than ever TSSA is needed by BAME workers in transport and travel.
We also have other members who have been moved by local and global events this year and want to know what they can do to end racism and support BAME colleagues. Our work building the Inclusive Rail campaign for LGBT+ people has made it clear that allyship is essential for changing negative culture and making our workplaces inclusive. We encourage anyone who wants to be an ally for BAME people to get involved in our community of practice. Our BAME members want to have the same opportunities to contribute and progress in their careers that other people experience and we all can help that become a reality.
Going Beyond for Racial Equality is a community of practice that will help all TSSA members and supporters talk about race, about prejudice, about privilege, about equality and find practical ways we can bring about change and make our workplaces inclusive of BAME people.