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Usdaw takes challenging racism and hatred to the TUC Black Workers' Conference

Date: 06 April 2017 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw is raising growing concerns about racism in the workplace at tomorrow’s TUC Black Workers’ Conference, which takes place at Congress House in London and concludes on Sunday.
A major new poll of over 1,000 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) working adults conducted by the TUC and ICM reveals some shocking results. Over a third of BAME workers had witnessed or experienced racial abuse in the seven months following the referendum vote. 19% had suffered or witnessed a racial assault. They also found that 38% had seen racist material online and 27% had come across racist graffiti, posters or leaflets.
John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, particularly in this challenging period as the UK exits the EU. We must stand up against racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and send a clear message to migrants and refugees that they are welcome here.
“Migrant workers make a valuable contribution to our economy, culture and wider society. They share the same common goals as any other worker – the right to a decent day’s pay for a decent day’s work, the right to work in safe environments and the right to be treated with dignity and respect at work.  Given this, the Government’s refusal to immediately guarantee EU nationals their right to live and work in our country is entirely unacceptable.
“We are appalled by the way the EU referendum was manipulated by some politicians and sections of the press to stir up hatred and division, which has rightly been condemned by the UN, who remarked that prominent political figures not only failed to condemn the way the debate was conducted but created and entrenched prejudices.  This emboldened individuals to carry out acts of intimidation and hate towards ethnic minority communities and others who are visibly different.
“Usdaw reps have for many years been providing support for members who face racially motivated violence, threats and abuse and they will continue to organise and promote anti-racism campaigns in workplaces and wider society.”
Usdaw has a delegation of BAME members attending conference.  They are asking  the TUC and affiliates to explore new ways to effectively challenge racism, given that ‘old’ strategies such as ‘stating the facts’ appear to be failing, and continue to foster links with campaigning  organisations and communities to build a broad coalition against racism and xenophobia.
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest trade union with nearly 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers