• Monday, August 08, 2022

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Top civil service union demands inquiry into racism in Cabinet Office

The department has the joint highest number of incidents of bullying and harassment in Whitehall

The Cabinet Office building in London (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) has called for a public inquiry into allegations of racism and bullying in the Cabinet Office.

The UK’s sixth-largest trade union wrote to Parliamentary Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) chair William Wragg, saying more than 80 of its members had formally complained about being racially bullied or profiled.

It reminded him that the department has the joint highest number of incidents of bullying and harassment in Whitehall.

The organisation, comprising members working mainly in government departments and public bodies, withdrew from an internal review into racism after losing confidence in the process.

It also alleged that managers oversaw a “paper exercise” and showed no real intent to tackle discrimination.

PCS assistant general secretary John Moloney stated in the letter: “We hope the committee will be interested in investigating racism within the Cabinet Office, to reviewing how the department has dealt with discrimination, its handling of the review and of course whether at all times the department has complied with all aspects of the Civil Service Code in relation to being open and honest in its dealings with staff and unions.”

He said the committee can compel the Cabinet Office to reveal the true extent of discrimination within the department.

The PCS’ letter, which comes amid the allegation of racism and bullying in the department, sets out a list of evidence in the trade union’s possession to be taken into consideration.

In March this year, the government handed a six-figure payout to black civil servant Kay Badu who had complained of being subjected to bullying by white managers in the Cabinet Office.

Badu had said that during his three years in the Cabinet Office from 2018, he was held back from promotion and that a manager had used the n-word.

The Independent reported that another former civil servant, Olivea Ebanks, received a settlement from the Ministry of Justice following three race discrimination tribunal claims within 20 years.

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