Black History Month and racism in the workplace
Black History Month
racism in the workplace
Racism is at work and it exists. Black History Month in October draws to a close, we look at how the college is working with the TUC to tackle racism in the workplace.
On 13 September, Stephen Lawrence would have turned 47. As an 18-year-old in 1993, he had a bright future ahead of him before he was murdered in a racially motivated attack while waiting for a bus in Well Hall Road, Eltham.
Twenty years ago, the TUC established the Stephen Lawrence task force to root out racism at work; but in a sign of the times and as a recognition that more needed to be done, a new Anti-Racism task force has recently been established by the TUC as there is still much more to do.
As part of their research, the TUC reported some sobering facts.
The ethnicity pay gap stands at 23.8% in London, the region with the highest proportion of ethnic minority workers. Black workers are more likely to be in poverty. Black workers are also more likely to be denied fair access to employment, more likely to be fired and less likely to be hired. Black workers are also more likely to be in insecure work, with Black women twice as likely to be in precarious employment, working zero-hours contracts and with fewer rights.
The evidence points to Black workers being less likely to be promoted to senior positions and more likely to be subject to competence procedures and disciplinary procedures, irrespective of qualifications or experience.
Black workers aged between 16 and 24 are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts.
And, with the pandemic, Black workers are three-to-four times more likely to die at work as a result of COVID-19.
The trade union movement has been a leading voice on the need to tackle institutional racism over the years. There is no more important priority for trade unions today than to do whatever it takes to stand up against racism and to secure racial justice at work
We are working with the new task force, under the leadership of Patrick Roach, the general secretary of one of the teaching unions, to bring an increased focus on anti-racism within the trade union movement which will need to be both broad and far-reaching to make a real and lasting difference to tackling racial disparities and racial injustice at work.
Wherever and whenever racism exists, wherever the conditions exist which enable racism to flourish, we must be ready to act and to call it out. But we need to do more than speak out – we must also make a difference.
The TUC anti-racism task force is about establishing the facts and shining a light on racial injustice in the world of work.
The fight against injustice at work is a cornerstone of the work of trade unions and it’s what we have done over decades.
In podiatry members regularly raise these issues in their workplaces – so we are not immune from this. Any member who faces racism or any form of discrimination should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are determined that the anti-racism task group will mark another important chapter in the history of our trade union movement’s fight against racism and racial injustice at work and that it will be a powerful force for change.
There has been some progress since the death of Stephen Lawrence, but the reality is that there remains much more to do.
We owe it to Stephen Lawrence and others to eradicate racism at work.