Speaking at the annual Congress in Brighton, Jeff Broome – Usdaw President said:
“Whatever your position on Britain’s membership of the European Union, I am sure we can agree that the campaign leading up to the referendum was one of the most divisive, hostile, negative and fear provoking campaigns we’ve seen.
“The imagery and language used by some was deliberately inflammatory and resulted in a spike in reported incidents of racism. Behind the 41% rise in reported race hate crime, and each of the thousands of unreported race hate offences, are individuals who experienced physical and psychological trauma; the life changing and life limiting consequences of racism.
“Never has the struggle against racism and bigotry been more urgent than it is today. The referendum campaign, set against the background of wider Government policies specifically designed to create a ‘hostile’ environment for migrants, has once again unleashed forces of hate and division.
“Trade unions along with the rest of civil society now have a pressing job of work to do going forwards: To forge alliances with other groups speaking out against racism and bigotry; to train and support reps; to stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity and support with members on the sharp end of racism, and to prioritise race equality in collective bargaining.
“Usdaw’s ‘No room for racism’ campaign has involved hundreds of Usdaw reps in running workplace campaigns. Doing what unions do best - standing up for people at the sharp end and bringing people together. Engaging members, non-members and employers with our anti-racist message - not in my name, not in my workplace.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 20% in the 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.
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