Socialist Worker


Issue No. 1862

THE FIRST effort by the British National Party (BNP) to use their place on an English council to stop immigration ended in failure last week. The two BNP councillors for Tipton in the West Midlands proposed at a Sandwell council meeting that migration to the area to be 'halted at the earliest opportunity'.

The other parties in Sandwell put together an amendment to the BNP motion. It replaced their wording wholesale. The new text pointed out that 'many residents, including members of the council, have been economic migrants'. It also mentioned the violence and persecution in many countries that caused people to seek asylum.

It called on the government to allow asylum seekers to work, and deplored the way 'some politicians have sought to make these few people scapegoats for the acknowledged shortcomings in public services.' In a bizarre twist the BNP joined other council members in voting for the new text.
Paul Quigley

LABOUR-RUN Hackney council in east London has sacked Unison branch equalities officer John Page in a dispute about how to deal with racism. Together with branch secretary Brian Debus, John has been suspended for the last eight months. Brian is still waiting to hear when his disciplinary hearing will take place.

The charge against John was that he had helped to produce and circulate a report that was critical of the council's race equality policy. At his disciplinary hearing John confirmed that the draft report went to members of the Unison branch committee and members of the Unison Black Workers' Group for consultation and agreement before it was due to be finalised and sent to the Commission for Racial Equality .

The hearing officer believed that John had also sent a copy to local MP and Unison member, Diane Abbott, who was due to attend the Unison black workers' meeting, and who had been asked to consider if she would write an introduction to the report.

Disgracefully the council objected to this process and sacked John. The council has refused any investigation into the truth of the report's allegations. A union representative is sacked for making allegations of racism, but allegations about managers are not investigated.

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Sat 26 Jul 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1862
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