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19 November 2020

New LRD guide on tackling racism and inequality at work

The Labour Research Department (LRD) has published its recent booklet Tackling racism and inequality - A trade union guide in response to the need for practical material to help union reps combat racism and improve equality in the workplace.

2020 has seen a new awareness of the wide-ranging racial inequalities in our society. The global coverage of the US police killing of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 and the widespread Black Lives Matter protests, together with the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the UK's ethnic minorities, has brought these inequalities to the fore in a way not seen since the Macpherson report into the murder of Stephen Lawrence more than two decades ago.

BAME workers are disproportionately concentrated in low-paying and vulnerable employment and many ethnic minority groups face substantial pay gaps compared with their white counterparts. They are likely to face more barriers to career progression, and often face higher than average rates of disciplinary action or redundancy. The Covid pandemic has highlighted many areas of unfairness, with BAME staff being more likely to work in - or be placed in - areas of high infection risk.

Tackling racism and inequality - A trade union guide is a 68 page booklet which sets out how race discrimination manifests itself in the work sphere and provides guidance and real-life examples of actions that can be taken, including using unions' collective power to get employers to adopt positive policies and actions to promote racial equality.

The booklet provides information, guidance on the law and real-life examples of actions that can be taken. It has a chapter dedicated to Covid 19 on how it has affected BAME workers and what unions and employers can do to combat the pandemic's unequal impact on jobs.

Union reps are in a good position to foster inclusiveness in workplaces and to help ensure workers from BAME backgrounds are not left vulnerable to racism - or indeed to Covid-19.
Unions at all levels have a role in combatting racism at work, and the TUC has launched a new initiative in this area. In September 2020, it launched an antiracism task force, led by Dr Patrick Roach general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, to investigate the systemic race discrimination.


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