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The myth of the end of workplace racism

The myth of the end of workplace racism

On the same day that research from the House of Commons Library reveals that there has been a 49% increase in the long term unemployed since 2010 among young people from Black Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAEM) communities, Nigel Farage tells us that racism in the workplace is no longer a problem. Racism is still a problem in the workplace and is still blatant; people from BAEM communities are less likely to be in employment, if they get into employment they are more likely to be victimised and bullied at work and are more likely to disciplined and less likely to progress to senior positions at work and if they do progress, it will take longer for them to get into those positions than their white counterparts. For example, in the NHS the proportion of BAEM Trust Chairs and Chief Executives in London has fallen from 5.3% in 2008 to 2.5% in 2012. In 2012, out of the 300 people chosen to take part in the NHS Leadership Academy only 4 were non White British backgrounds, when around 18% of the 1.4 million employees in the NHS are from BAEM communities. At Transport for London BAEM employees are almost twice as likely to be disciplined as their white counterparts, this from their own figures from 2014. It is clear that austerity has hit the young, the vulnerable and BAEM communities the hardest.

The reality is that the job market is hard enough for BAEM communities without sanctioning statutory racism, by abolishing race discrimination legislation in the workplace. Upcoming results from our National survey of Unite BAEM shows they still experience discrimination at work. This country could not build an economic future without the diverse workforce that immigration brings because with an ageing working population and a falling birth rate, who will be paying the taxes to fund our pensions? At the last census, 14% of the UK population were from BAEM communities, projections say this will increase to 20% by the time of the next Census in 2021. Unite the Union believes the way to tackle the issues facing our economy is through equality and fairness for all, not discrimination and division. 

We believe young BAEM unemployment should be addressed by setting up a Government task force involving stakeholders such as community groups, faith groups, the not for profit sector, trade unions and young people, that set targets and put in place measure to address the gap and get young BAEM people into work. We believe discrimination can be defeated by challenging prejudice and realising that diverse workplaces are more productive workplaces, which is good for business, great for the economy and fantastic for our society. Don't believe anyone that says permitting prejudice and discrimination is the right path for economic success and social stability for our country and furthermore, we think Britain would reject this.

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