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TUC Black Workers' Conference 2021: Usdaw calls on the Government and employers to act now to end racial inequality

Date: 19 March 2021 Retail trade union Usdaw has a delegation of members attending this year’s online Trade Union Congress (TUC) Black Workers’ Conference, which starts today and closes on Sunday. Usdaw is highlighting how the coronavirus crisis and Government failures have exposed the deeply entrenched nature of racism and inequality in British society.
Usdaw is calling on the TUC Black Workers’ Committee to:
  • Support the work being done in unions to organise and reach out to Black workers.
  • Act as a strong voice for the concerns of Black workers.
  • Identify what they can do to mobilise Black workers to be active in their unions. 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “I send my fraternal greetings to the conference delegates and wish them well in their discussions on how to improve the lives of Black Minority Ethnic workers. It is structural racism and the unequal position of Black Minority Ethnic workers at work, in the labour market and in wider society that accounts for the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on Black communities. 
 
“Importantly the TUC and affiliated unions were amongst the first to bring the voice of Black Minority Ethnic workers to the debate, which was hitherto largely ignored. The coronavirus crisis and Government’s failures have highlighted the deeply entrenched nature of racism and inequality in British society and exposed that some of the most important jobs in society are done by those who are paid the least.
 
“It is well documented that Black and minority ethnic workers and communities have been disproportionately affected by Coronavirus, with the most devastating impact being the high number of deaths, especially among key workers delivering essential services. Levels of in-work poverty are disproportionately higher in BME communities, as racial discrimination traps BME workers in low-waged occupations, with BME workers disproportionately working in the frontline jobs that are keeping our communities going during this crisis like retail, warehousing and distribution.
 
“The Government and employers need to act now on the recommendations made by the TUC in their report ‘Dying on the job’ and by successive independent inquiries to end racial inequality. Furthermore, unions need to continue to take positive action to ensure Black Minority Ethnic members are represented at all levels and throughout all structures.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
Dying on the job - Racism and risk at work: https://www.tuc.org.uk/research-analysis/reports/dying-job-racism-and-risk-work
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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