Unions have to play vital role in tackling workplace racism

Workplace
racism can only be eliminated if unions lead a new approach to supporting
employees, Commission for Racial Equality chairman Gurbux Singh will claim
today.

Speaking
at the TUC conference later today in Brighton, Singh will offer a lasting
partnership between the unions and the CRE to create change in the public and
private sector organisations.

He
will however warn against complacency. Singh will say, “We have bold new race
legislation but how is this going to alter daily life for those people still
being abused, bullied and demeaned by racial discrimination?

“That
is a question none of us can shirk from addressing and the role of unions is
now essential if dry legislation is to be translated into real equality. The
role of union representatives is significant. They can either act sensitively
and swiftly to protect employees, take their case further and achieve fair
redress or they can ignore racism and fail to act. The second is not an
option.”

Singh
will praise the TUC for its initiatives to improve support for employees
suffering racial discrimination including a telephone hotline for employees to
report racism, as well as the work of the Stephen Lawrence Task Force, set up
to combat racial discrimination in the workplace as well as in the union
movement.

He
will also call for continued training to improve the skills and knowledge of
union representatives supporting employees and urge unions to take positive
action to encourage greater participation in union activities by ethnic
minority workers.

“The
trade union movement must lead the way in race equality practice and vigilantly
combat racial discrimination,” he will say.

www.cre.gov.uk

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