'We cannot be silent'

Workers Uniting statement on the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota

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Workers Uniting, the transnational union representing over 3 million workers across the UK, Ireland, United States, Canada and Mexico is outraged and appalled at the killing of a Black man, George Floyd, at the hands of Minnesota police officers. Distressing footage shows Mr Floyd lying on the ground handcuffed, with one of the officers kneeling on his neck as he begged for his life – with those now all too familiar words, “I can’t breathe.”

The murder of George Floyd, which was preceded by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, further illustrates the devastating impact racism and violence have on Black People in America in 2020.

At moments like these, we in the trade union and labour movements cannot be silent and we must express our collective outrage over these brutal murders.

We fully support the call upon the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI to ensure constitutional enforcement of the law by state and local law enforcement agencies, by investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators of crimes such as this.

The killing is another example of the deep and systemic racism that continue in our societies which, at a time when the world is struggling through a global pandemic, has been even more deeply exposed.

Just as black, ethnic minority and indigenous workers face massive structural inequalities in North America so too they do in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Mexico. Police brutality, discrimination, socio-economic deprivation, poor healthcare and education provision, as well as the constant threat of deportation, are all sickeningly present across our countries.

To fight hate, racism and impunity, in all our countries, there must be full and real accountability by all government, law enforcement and judicial agencies.

Workers Uniting stresses our commitment to solidarity, respect, and our unyielding commitment to justice, fairness and equality. The global trade union and labour movement gains strength from our common belief that all people have an undeniable right to a fair,just and dignified life, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

We stand with those protesting in defence of black lives everywhere and call on governments, workers and society at large to do likewise.

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