George Floyd is America’s Sheku Bayoh – Scotland’s Black Workers Demand End to Racist Police Violence

June 2nd 2020

George Floyd is America’s Sheku Bayoh – Scotland’s Black Workers Demand End to Racist Police Violence

June 2nd 2020

The Scottish Trades Union Congress’s (STUC) Black Workers’ Committee condemn and mourn the innocent killing of George Floyd. Furthermore, the Committee condemns and calls for an immediate stop to the ever-increasing state violence perpetuated against Black people in America.

We know all too well that racism exists everywhere at home and abroad. We too know that it exists within formalised state and institutional structures as well as within community settings. We have seen cases like what happened George Floyd happen in Scotland. The case of Sheku Bayoh is a prime example of this.

As the representatives of Scotland’s Black Workers, our committee has long supported the Justice for Sheku Bayoh campaign.

It is important that the legacy of colonialism and imperialism at the hands of the British and Scottish state should be acknowledged and condemned. This is why the STUC Black Workers’ Committee wrote to the Scottish Government in January 2020 for this to be fully incorporated into the learning experienced in the Scottish education system. We still await a response from the Scottish Government on that topic.

At this uncertain times, Scotland’s Black and Minority Ethnic workers and communities are having to deal with the realities of the economic, social and health inequalities they face on a daily basis.

We have asked the Scottish First Minister and her Government to show leadership and take action, but continue to await a response.

We have asked the Scottish Government to release disaggregated data relating to Coronavirus deaths as we fear that, as has been shown in England and Wales, that Black and Minority Ethnic people are dying at a higher rate from Coronavirus.

We have asked them to publish an action plan which outlines what will be done to address issues such as low pay, poor working conditions, and little opportunities to progress and succeed in work. All of which are proven to disadvantage Black and Minority Ethnic workers and communities more than their white counterparts.

We have asked the First Minister to address the rise in racist rhetoric in her daily press briefings. 10 days on, Nicola Sturgeon today expressed her solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. While we support her acknowledgement, we would like the First Minister to go further, releasing the disaggregated CoVid19 data that we have asked for and do more to address the socio economic health inequalities that exist here in Scotland and impact Black and Minority Ethnic people worse than their white counterparts.

As a Committee, we encourage all comrades and allies to make placards for their windows, demonstrate their support online and offer support to grassroots organisations supporting Black people in Scotland. Racism is one of the many symptoms of an economic system that is not based on human need, and we collectively need to tackle it.

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