The Communication Workers Union (CWU) is to make equality and diversity
training a condition of becoming a union representative.
The union is to spend £300,000 on putting its 6,000 reps through a one-day
equality and diversity training course to help them understand the culture and
beliefs of the staff they represent.
The CWU decided to ensure all its union representatives go through
equalities training after experiencing diversity problems at the troubled Royal
Mail Group which led to a bullying and harassment culture.
These were highlighted earlier this year when the struggling firm, which is
losing more than £1m a day, admitted that racist managers led a black postman
to commit suicide.
Billy Hayes, general secretary at the CWU, believes that if union reps have
a better understanding of different cultures and beliefs, they can help to
defuse potential problems.
"They (union representatives) are a volunteer army so we want to look
at training for them. Royal Mail Group is a labour-intensive industry so there
is always going to be tension and conflict, but it is how you manage it and get
on to a similar agenda that we are looking to address," he said.
"It is important that union reps know how important it is to have a
good, safe workplace. Royal Mail Group is already broadly reflective of the
community and diversity awareness becomes more important with more women and
ethnic minorities entering the workforce."
CWU has 3,000 union reps in the Royal Mail Group.