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Lambeth council management accused of racial discrimination

PROTEST: People unite outside Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton to voice their opposition to the council's austerity measures

A RACE row about austerity cuts affecting black middle management in local authorities has resurfaced following a complaint by trade union Unison to Lambeth Council.

Earlier this year, the Freedom of Information data revealed a disproportionate number of black and minority ethnic employees that had been let go from their jobs.

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, expressed her concerns that councils were using austerity as “a convenient excuse to get rid of certain groups.”

However, Unison has now claimed that senior management is now refusing to hire staff at risk of redundancy to vacant jobs, which they have laid out in a complaint letter and have also accused them of failing to provide vital information for unions to monitor possible racial discrimination.

Unison housing convenor, Hassina Malik, said: “After Unison members lobbied councillors last year - because management proposals were for excessive job cuts which hit black workers hardest – senior council officers were forced to rewrite their proposals.

“We spent weeks working with them, trying to save jobs and eliminate discrimination - and we thought we were getting somewhere.”

A spokesperson for Lambeth council said: "Lambeth has a long-standing and enviable track record in demonstrating our commitment to fairness, equality and diversity. Any allegations are always taken seriously and we pride ourselves on taking appropriate action to maintain the high standards we uphold on diversity and equality within the council."

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