Lambeth council job cuts ‘to hit BME staff hardest’

Lambeth Town Hall, by Laura Spargo

By Kaye Wiggins

A staff restructure in Lambeth council’s housing department puts black and ethnic minority employees at greater risk of losing their jobs than white staff, a union has claimed.

Speaking at a council meeting on Wednesday, the Unison representative Hassina Malik said 73% of black and ethnic minority staff in the council’s housing department were at risk of losing their jobs, but only 45% of white staff were.

She said the figures were from the council’s own assessment of the impact of the restructure.

“The key point is that when your own impact assessment tells you there’s an extremely statistically significant relationship between risk and race that means you have the potential for unlawful discrimination,” she said.

“We ask you to look again and please speak to the officers in the housing division to do something about this”, she said. “The staff are very unhappy about what’s happening and there needs to be something done.”

In response councillor Pete Robbins said the measures were “proposals only” and were still out to consultation.

“We’re very proud in Lambeth to have one of the best records in the country for recruiting and retaining BME (black and minority ethnic) staff,” he said.

He stressed that he hoped to have “constructive” talks with unions about the issue.