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Usdaw backs TUC call on the Government for a law change to prevent racism at work

Date: 31 August 2022 Retail trade union Usdaw has backed a Trades Union Congress (TUC) call on the Government to change the law to place employer’s under a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent racism from arising in the workplace; after the a new report published today found that two in five Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) workers have faced racism at work in the last five years.
The TUC commissioned researchers at Number Cruncher Politics to poll 1,750 BME workers in the UK and conduct focus group interviews to shine a light on the scale of racism across Britain.:
  • More than half of people surveyed who were aged between 24 and 34 said they have faced racism at work in the last five years, rising to 58% of 18 to 24-year-olds.
  • Racist jokes or “banter” and people using stereotypes or commenting on their appearance, affected more than a quarter of the respondents.
  • One in five people said they have been bullied or harassed at work and the same number have had racist remarks directed at them or made in their presence.
  • The vast majority of people who have been subject to harassment have not told their employer, largely because of fears of not being taken seriously or concerns about how it will affect working relationships with colleagues. 
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Racism is widespread and persistent, with BME workers facing discrimination in the labour market and racist abuse at work, as this TUC commissioned report clearly sets out. The Government and employers need to do much more than respond to racism at work, as vital as that is, they also need to take action to stop it occurring in the first place.  We welcome the positive steps employers are making to actively tackle racism at work, but we recognise that many are too slow to act or only do so once the damage has been done .
 
“A lack of action leaves the Government and employers complicit with a status quo where BME workers continue to be at a systemic disadvantage that perpetuates barriers to opportunity and drives inequality. There needs to be mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting, a strengthening of employment rights to tackle insecure work, an extension to the duty to conduct equality impact assessments and an independent inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid on BME communities. We also back the TUC call on the Government to change the law so that employers are responsible for protecting their workers from racism at work.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with around 360,000 members. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemical industry 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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