Branch Secretary :

Diversity Window-Dressing at Catalyst

By a Catalyst Worker


Catalyst is the landlord to some of the most diverse communities in the capital. It also has a diverse workforce, with staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds making up the majority of frontline teams such as Communities and Customer Services. Yet despite this, the company still has an almost all-white executive team. The Runnymede Trust calls it snowy peaks syndrome – Unite calls it unacceptable!



Catalyst Suffers Snowy Peak Syndrome


Clearly sensitive about the optics of this, management has made Black Lives Matter a regular topic of their articles on Catalyst’s intranet, along with external speakers and events about diversity issues. Evidently the association wants to position itself as leading the way on equality and diversity, however Unite reps and activists remain concerned that Catalyst’s commitment is only skin deep.



The association is currently in the midst of a major restructure, with over 100 staff at risk of redundancy. Over 90% of workers in the (predominantly BAME) Communities directorate have been forced to reapply for their jobs, in some cases with lower salaries. Teams dealing with youth engagement have been cut back, despite issues with youth crime in the areas covered by Catalyst, and specialist welfare rights and employment posts have also been deleted, despite the impact of lockdown and the ending of furlough being set to cause even more hardship for residents.


A Demand to Publish


Catalyst has conducted an Equality Impact Assessment of the restructure, but has refused to share it with staff or reps, stating “as we do not recognise Unite within our organisation, there is no requirement for Catalyst to share this information with you.”


Unite reps and activists are calling on Catalyst management to publish the Equality Impact Assessment without delay, work constructively with the union to avoid unnecessary redundancies and commit to maintaining current salary levels for all affected colleagues instead of using the restructure as an excuse to cut pay and conditions.


17 August 2021



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