23 October 2020 | UK NEWS
Footage has emerged of a TUCG video call in September, in which it was claimed that the Cabinet Office had called for talks with the Black Lives Matter movement around “colonialism and enslavement”.
The remark was made by Zita Holbourne, the Vice President of the PCS trade union, which covers the Civil Service.
She said: “Here in the UK, in the Civil Service union, in PCS, we’ve been negotiating with the Government around the impact of colonialism and enslavement, and saying that they have to address those legacies if they’re serious about tackling racism.
“We’ve been having negotiations that are headed up [by] Black Lives Matter, called by the Cabinet Office.”
Also present on the call at this time were the General Secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union, Sarah Woolley, and the General Secretary of the Napo trade union for probation and family court workers, Ian Lawrence.
The matter of reparations in respect of the historical slave trade was also discussed on the call, with Ms Holbourne describing this policy as “crucial”.
It comes after the Equalities Minister, Kemi Badenoch, attacked the endorsement of the Black Lives Matter movement in a speech in the House of Commons on Tuesday. She said the Government was “against the teaching of contested political ideas as if they are accepted fact”.
She continued: “I want to speak about a dangerous trend in race relations that has come far too close to home, to my life, and it is the promotion of Critical Race Theory. An ideology that sees my blackness as victimhood, and their whiteness as oppression.
“I want to be absolutely clear: this Government stands unequivocally against Critical Race Theory. Some schools have decided to openly support the anti-capitalist Black Lives Matter group, often fully aware that they have a statutory duty to be politically impartial.
“Black lives do matter – of course they do – but we know that the Black Lives Matter movement … is political.”
Later in her speech, she said: “We do not endorse that movement on this side of the House. It is a political movement, and what would be nice would be for Members on the opposite side to condemn many of the actions that we see [from] this political movement, instead of pretending that it is a completely wholesome, anti-racist organisation.
“There is a lot of pernicious stuff that is being pushed, and we stand against that.”
But the revelation would seem to cast doubt upon whether there is full harmony between Westminster and Whitehall on the matter.
The PCS trade union had previously written to the Cabinet Office, asking to work with them to “take decisive action to eradicate racism from the Civil Service”.
The union also announced in July that it had held two meetings with the Cabinet Office thus far, along with other trade unions, saying that “the meeting was called by the Cabinet Office to discuss Black Lives Matter and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BAME workers and communities”.
However, this announcement did not suggest that the talks had been “headed up”, as Ms Holbourne mentioned, by the Black Lives Matter movement itself.
The Cabinet Office has been contacted for comment, but their responses did not directly address the nature of our question. A spokesman twice refused to deny that there was any foundation to Ms Holbourne’s claim.