After a long day of travelling from all over the UK and attending conference, delegates heard speeches from Julia Mwaluke, UNISON NEC, Amerit Rait, Vice President UNISON, Weyman Bennett, National Secretary SUTR and Penny Gower, SUTR Edinburgh Co-convener.
Penny gave an in-depth speech on the death of Sheku Bayoh, following his arrest by officers of Police Scotland in 2017. The ongoing public enquiry into Sheku’s death, which started in 2021, is expected to last at least 2 years and Stand Up To Racism, Trade Unions and campaign groups have supported the Bayoh family and their legal team throughout the hearings. Delegates were shocked to learn that Sheku was attacked by the police while walking home from a friend’s house in Kirkcaldy, to hear of the 23 sets of injuries Sheku sustained while he died in police custody.
A question-and-answer session raised many points about how to challenge race discrimination, rise of the far-right, the discriminatory policies and language used by the Tory Government, including their policy on cross channel immigration and the threat of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda. Weyman ended his inspirational speech, by assuring the audience that we are not going back to the days before the death of Steven Lawrence, the Windrush years. We won’t let that happen.
The fringe event and the SUTR stall at Friday and Saturday’s conference were supported by Edinburgh College EIS, UNISON City of Edinburgh Branch and Trade Unions in Communities (TUIC). Our thanks to the NASUWT teachers’ union for providing their office and facilities to hold the event.
SUTR Edinburgh Co-convener
TUIC Trade Union Liaison Officer