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It’s 2022 and the fight against racism continues in full force

Published date
Throughout 2021 the TUC’s Anti-Racism Taskforce has proudly stood in solidarity with those campaigning for racial justice.

From the harrowing racist abuse directed towards Black players on the England football team in the Euro finals to the countless struggles facing thousands of Black workers disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic – we have stood alongside and bolstered calls for tackling the deep-seated issue of racism in the UK.

To usher in the new year, we are highlighting some of the issues affecting Black workers, and the opportunities 2022 might afford to address them.

Issues affecting Black workers

We know that the scale of existing inequalities has been starkly exposed by the pandemic and in many cases, these inequalities have been deepened. The fact that Black and minority ethnic people are more likely to live in overcrowded housing, have poorer health outcomes and be concentrated in insecure work where they have access to far fewer employment rights is well documented. However, the Covid-19 crisis has shown us that this inequality not only limits Black people’s life opportunities but also contributes to prematurely ending their lives.

Yet to date, there has and continues to be a failure by Government to consider the impact of their policies on the lives of Black workers and the structural inequalities that shape their lived experiences. We have consistently highlighted the impact of the pandemic on BME workers, speaking specifically about the higher death rates among BME communities and the devastating impact on BME workers in insecure work.

Opportunities for 2022

In the forthcoming public inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic we will call on Government to ensure that the impacts of the pandemic on Black workers are taken into consideration. We will be putting forward an agenda that delivers protections for Black workers, including calling for stronger regulation, mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting and legislation to ban the use of zero-hours contracts. We will be giving voice to the experiences of Black workers during the pandemic and demanding that lessons are learned.

The Taskforce will work to bring unions and employers together to work for change that will make workplaces safer, inclusive, and fairer. We will be harnessing and building on the tools and strategies that our unions have already demonstrated are most effective in winning progress on racial justice in the workplace.

The Taskforce, as leaders of the trade union movement, will step up, alongside the wider anti-racist movement, and deliver on actions that will make a positive difference for Black workers. For example, one key area where we will be ramping up our campaigning on, is tackling the ethnicity pay gap. We know that the ethnicity pay gap isn’t a new topic, and even though the Government launched a consultation in 2018 about whether it should be made mandatory, progress since then has stalled to a halt.

Race still plays a significant role in determining people's pay and career progression, but little has been done to tackle this deep inequality. Earlier this month, the TUC’s Race Equality Officer,

Wilf Sullivan told the Women and Equalities Select committee

The question is identifying inequalities — and pay is a fairly basic indicator of what’s going on.

Now more than ever, we need to push Government to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap monitoring and action plans. We cannot effectively work towards reducing pay inequality if we don’t have the evidence to hand.

The Government must commit to racial justice, and the Taskforce will be working in full force to ensure that happens.

In the words of Angela Davis:

In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist. You have to be actively anti-racist.

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