Black Members

Black members in UNISON work to improve equality in the workplace and challenge racism and discrimination.

It is important that there is a visible and vocal presence of the Black members’ experience. Black members’ self-organised groups (SOGs) work in partnership with other parts of the union to identify and promote our race equality agenda. Contact Bill Acharjee to get involved with the Black Members’ SOG, and have your voice heard.

UNISON Definition of Black

Black members: in UNISON ‘Black’ is used to indicate people with a shared history. Black with a capital ‘B’ is used in its broad political and inclusive sense to describe people in Britain that have suffered colonialism and enslavement in the past and continue to experience racism and diminished opportunities in today’s society.

Visit the national Black members’ site


Meet Your Officer:

Email: bill.acharjee@solent.ac.uk 

UNISON Roles:
Black Members Officer · Employment Relations Act Accredited Rep · Equality Rep 

Interests:
Equality activist roles with UNISON and Stand Up To Racism to campaign for change and fight injustice in the workplace and wider-community. I have been an active musician (bass player) with many years’ operating in the music industry, such as; playing in bands, event and band management, as well as music production and composition. I have also had the pleasure of sharing stages with some of UK’s finest acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Ash, The Maccabees, Young Knives to name a few. I am the father of two little rascal boys who constantly challenge and entertain me, as well as being a pescatarian by choice but love all kinds of vegetarian/vegan food, particularly Indian, Thai and Chinese cuisine but try not to discriminate with my choices. Apart from binge watching films, documentaries and TV shows on Netflix, I love to run and cycle to keep my body and mind healthy. That said, I do also have a firm affinity with Unity Brewing Companies craft ales, as well as being very conscientious about environmental issues. 

Goals:
As a second generation British Asian, I was born and raised in Southampton where, throughout my adolescent and adult life, I have been subjected to incidents of racism, prejudice and discrimination from verbal to physical, directly and indirectly within my time at school, college, university, professional workplace environments, socialising in bars and clubs and even when stepping out of the front door of my home. I do not believe that anyone, who is considered to be ‘different’, should have to accept this type of prejudice and discrimination within their workplace or their neighbourhood! I strongly believe that by developing and nurturing a diverse cultural society, where people from all walks of life, different faiths, skin tone and beliefs can coexist, can be achieved to ensure a positive future for ourselves, our community and the next generation. My aim for this position is to organise events and workshops that will bring communities together to entertain, educate and empower but equally, I want to help, support and represent our Black members who may not have a voice or confidence to help themselves or speak out about issues of injustice that they may be experiencing. 

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Being subjected to various forms of bullying and racial injustice has always had a negative impact on my mental health, feelings of isolation and that I am a ‘second class citizen’ that doesn’t belong. However, since joining UNISON and getting active with the National Black Members group, it has felt like I have a new family where I have met like-minded individuals who share the same values and beliefs. If I could time travel, the only advice I would give my younger self is to join the UNISON community from birth.