26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Union seeks answers in racism issue

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The United Kingdom’s Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has called on the Government to launch an inquiry into racism and bullying in the Cabinet Office following a slew of complaints.

The PCS wrote to Parliament’s Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC), which is responsible for examining standards across the Public Service, asking for a Select Committee to examine what it says are longstanding issues of discrimination within the Department.

The letter, which was seen by journalists at The Independent newspaper, sets out a list of evidence in the union’s possession to be taken into consideration.

It references more than 80 members who had formally complained about being racially bullied or profiled, an increasing number of grievances, the number of Employment Tribunals (either in progress or that concluded in favour of the employees) and articles published by The Independent.

In the letter, Assistant General Secretary of the PCS, John Moloney said he hoped the PACAC would be interested in investigating racism within the Cabinet Office and would review how the Department had dealt with discrimination.

“Of course the committee can use its powers to force the Cabinet Office to reveal the true extent of discrimination within the Department (clearly what the union knows is limited to the knowledge of members and we suspect there is more discrimination than we are aware of),” Mr Moloney said.

The call comes after The Independent revealed concerns about systemic problems within the Cabinet Office from a top Public Servant.

Kay Badu (pictured), a Public Servant who worked within the Government’s Digital Service, was handed a six-figure payout over allegations he faced racial discrimination in Whitehall.

Despite the payout, the Cabinet Office did not admit liability and did not accept a number of the claims made.

Former Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Dame Helen Macnamara, who recently left the organisation, warned of a systemic problem with race in the Department towards the end of her tenure.

In March, the PCS withdrew from a Government review into racism in the Cabinet Office after branding it a whitewash.

London, 13 July 2022

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