Merton tackles institutional racism head on

Merton Council has launched the Merton Ethnic Minority Staff Network to provide support and advice for all ethnic minority staff.

The launch was attended by more than 120 staff of the Council and addressed by Harvi Mudhar, the Interim Chairman of the network, Councillors Joe Abrams and Jan Jones, the Chief Executive Roger Paine and Ronnie Wilson of the Commission for Racial Equality.

The staff network will aim to ensure that ethnic minority staffs are represented in matters affecting their work lives, and provide a collective voice to promote and represent ethnic workers interests. The group has not been established to replace the Unions and the council’s employment procedures for dealing with racism, but to work with them to help reach full equality in the work place.

The network will work to raise awareness of the specific needs of ethnic workers and work with the management on initiatives to promote a culture of equality in service delivery.

Harvi Mudhar, the Interim Chair of the Group, said: “I am proud that the council is giving such emphasis on helping ethnic minority staff in the council reach full equality, and ensure that all areas of work within the council are open to all staff.

“We want to create an environment of support for all the ethnic minority staff in the Council, in a manner that makes them feel confident and secure enough to seek assistance if they feel they have been unfairly treated.

“There has been institutional racism in the past and Merton is prepared to admit that and look towards a future of equal opportunities for all.”

The Merton Ethnic Members Staff Network was set up as part of the council’s Scrutiny Report “The Past We Inherit the Future We Build,” which was the council’s response to the Macpherson Report.