From the TUC

Let’s talk about racism at work

14 Dec 2016, By

The increase in racist and xenophobic attacks post-Brexit created a public outcry and highlighted the fact that racism is still an issue in modern Britain.  This came as no surprise for many Black and Minority Ethnic workers (BME) who have experienced or live in fear of being subjected to racism.

The TUC are launching an online survey on that will run until 27 February 2017 to expose the everyday reality of racism faced by many Black workers.  We believe that an important step to tackling racism at work is by exposing and acknowledging the experiences that people deal with every day.

In many workplaces, employers believe that their diversity policies have driven overt racism out of the workplace and therefore racism is no longer a problem.  People’s experience of racism has become secret.  If they complain any discussion of what is happening is clouded in talk of confidentially and if their employers are prepared to settle a complaint a gagging clause must be signed to make sure that the details about discrimination never get discussed in the workplace.

However, the reality is that workplace racism is alive and well.  The stories of racism that I hear from BME trade union members are depressingly familiar.

  • Members who find themselves being disciplined because suddenly after years of service it’s decided that the way they do their job is incompetent.
  • Members who discover that the course they could not go on because there was no money has been granted to white workers.
  • Members who watch workers they have trained being promoted above them while being you did a good interview but……
  • Members who were good enough to do the job on a temporary basis but when it came to the full-time job somehow didn’t have the experience or good enough qualifications to get the job on a permanent basis.

The survey will help the TUC highlight these and many other experiences that result in BME workers being be stuck in insecure low-paid, low-status jobs. Workers don’t have to be in a union to complete this short survey. The information provided will be treated in confidence and the survey can be completed anonymously.

Share your experience about racism at work by completing the survey.