Standing together against this rise in prejudice
Over 3,000 people reported hate crimes to the police in the weeks around the EU referendum. That’s an increase of nearly 60%. We can only assume that many more crimes went unreported.
Racism in Britain had never gone away, but some seem to have decided to take the Leave vote as a validation of their racist views, and are newly emboldened. In fact, TUC polling published today shows that Leave voters were motivated by a whole range of factors, and we cannot allow millions of decent people to be painted as xenophobes or racists because of how they voted on the EU.
We have to stand firm against those who want to divide us even further, and trade unions will continue to fight hate with hope, and push us towards a country where there is no place for racism, xenophobia and discrimination.
That’s why we’ve partnered today with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, ACAS and employers organisations like the CBI to send guidance to employers about tackling racism in the workplace.
The new Chair of the EHRC has written to employers across the country today with information on how to prevent racism and anti-migrant sentiment in work, but also how to deal with it when it comes up. This ranges from simple advice to help staff feel safe at work, to advice on how to get help or formally complain. The letter urges employers to include unions in those discussions, and to make clear that they will take a zero tolerance approach to racism.
For staff, the first thing to do is to know your rights. All employees have a right to:
- Work in safe and healthy conditions
- Not be threatened, harassed or bullied
- Not be discriminated against
- Complain about poor treatment without being victimised
As ever, one of the best ways to fight mistreatment and guarantee your rights is to join a union. Standing alone against prejudice can be impossible: by together together we have a fighting chance.
The TUC will be following up with much more, including practical guidance for union reps about tackling racism at work, policy recommendations for government, and work through our regions and the Wales TUC to send a clear message that unions will stand up against racism and prejudice wherever it rears its ugly head.