Published: 18th May, 2020
Last week it was reported that BBC journalist Sima Kotecha was racially abused whilst preparing to broadcast from Leicester city centre. With our sister UCU branch at DMU we have written to BBC Radio Leicester expressing our shock and our solidarity.
Dear BBC Radio Leicester,
The De Montfort University and University of Leicester branches of the University and College Union, UCU, have been bitterly disappointed to hear about the racist abuse of the BBC Journalist, Sima Kotecha. We agree that Leicester, as one of the UK’s most ethnically plural cities, has no place for such behaviour, but that equally in the 21st Century there is no setting, workplace, city, village or town where this should be appropriate or even considered acceptable.
As such, we stand in solidarity with Sima, and her colleagues at the BBC, and all who face racism, historically and currently.
UCU as the main professional body representing UK university employees has recently taken industrial action, one of the pillars of our campaign being on closing the gender and ethnic pay gaps. We have also held a week of action against workplace racism earlier this year, and have a long history of campaigning against racism, and will continue to do so. We are also actively campaigning on workplace safety with regard to Covid-19, which disproportionately affects BAME employees both medically, and due to the distribution of workers in front line occupations. While black and minority ethnic people make up only 14% of the UK’s population, they account for 35% of all coronavirus patients in intensive care.
Martin Morgan-Taylor & Sarah Seaton,
Chairs, UCU De Montfort University and the University of Leicester.