Skip to main content

To: Historical Royal Palaces and other cultural institutions

End race discrimination in the culture sector - Reinstate Amanda

End race discrimination in the culture sector - Reinstate Amanda

The PCS union Culture Group is demanding that the culture sector eliminate all forms of racial discrimination and for Historical Royal Palaces to reinstate our Equality rep, Amanda Walker. In 2017, Amanda made history by becoming the first Black female Warden at the Tower of London.
As a PCS union rep in her branch at Historic Royal Palaces, Amanda was deeply involved in the fight to end discrimination and bullying at her workplace Hampton Court Palace. Through her activism she directly challenged patterns of systemic discrimination and favouritism within the palaces which was exposed in the Guardian in March 2021:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/mar/17/historic-royal-palaces-settles-bullying-and-racial-discrimination-complaints

Last summer many of Britain’s most prominent cultural institutions were quick to issue statements in support of the Black Lives Matter protests on social media, but they have done little to address the internal systemic racism which plagues the sector. The public solidarity and support expressed for BLM by many museums, galleries and heritage sites has led to very few tangible changes for people of colour working in the culture sector. 

Nowhere has this contrast been more apparent than in the unfair selection of Amanda Walker for redundancy. Amanda was selected for redundancy after she was accused of “not striking the right tone” in a letter she wrote as a union rep which called for increased diversity and fairness within Historic Royal Palaces. She has been a steadfast vocal opponent of the bullying and blatant favouritism which she witnessed within Hampton Court.

We, signatories, demand that:

 Historic Royal Palaces reinstates Amanda Walker

Why is this important?

There are real concerns surrounding the rampant institutional racism and discrimination that plague the cultural sector. Many prominent British cultural institutions have built the bulk of their collections on the back of colonisation and their interpretation continues to tell stories tainted with imperialism. As well as failing to address the legacy of colonialism, as employers, many museums galleries and heritage sites perpetuate a system of discrimination against PCS members who identify as Black, Women, Disabled or LGBT+. 

2020 saw another outcry against racism in the Black Lives Matters demonstration following the murder of George Floyd. Numerous cultural institutions declared their support for the Black Lives Matter movement very publicly. However, this public support has failed to make a difference to our Black PCS members who are disproportionately employed on unstable, zero hour or fixed terms contracts. 

Our union members who identify as Black, who are cleaners, security guards, and gallery/museum assistants continued to go to work as ‘essential workers’ putting their and their family’s lives at risk. In the Autumn, it also became evident that the redundancies at Tate, the Southbank Centre and Historic Royal Palaces disproportionately affected Black workers.

Finally, a number of our Black reps and members have been at the receiving end of discrimination and victimisation when they have spoken out against racism and bullying. This worrying trend was exposed at Historical Royal Palaces.

In Summer 2020 then in December 2020, PCS Black Culture Group reps wrote to many employers in the sector with demands to improve race equality in the workplace. Very few meaningful responses have been received. Those demands were:

• Eliminate the racial pay gap, openly publish this information and draw up a plan to eliminate it.
• Establish protections against privatisation, casualisation, exploitation, overwork and support for mental health. 
• Put in place hiring committees that have clear guidelines, accountability mechanisms and training in place to consider issues around race and equality. Black members should be on such committees. 
• Implement anti-discriminatory support measures for Black staff and put in place a set of accountable, procedures for promotion, including an external review process.
• Improve dedicated anti-racism training and make it mandatory for all levels of staff, entailing ongoing refreshers.
• Record racial breakdowns of disciplinary investigations and outcomes, publish the results and draw up plans to eliminate any bias.

*Black: PCS uses the term black in the political context to apply to people from African and Asian diasporas, including people of dual heritage.

How it will be delivered

To be confirmed

Category

Updates

2021-04-15 14:21:01 +0100

100 signatures reached

2021-04-14 15:57:41 +0100

50 signatures reached

2021-04-14 14:30:34 +0100

25 signatures reached

2021-04-14 13:39:31 +0100

10 signatures reached