When collectively discussing racism against a group of people, using terms or acronyms can be helpful in illustrating the collective experience of racism.
However, when in workplaces or services – respecting a person’s expression of their personal identities in the way they choose is important. In this document we take on board the consultation feedback that Welsh Government received in their Anti-Racism Action Plan. We will continue to use the full term of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people when referring to a collective.
However, we also recognised that for Gypsies and Traveller people, Jewish people and people of the Islamic faith, there are concerns about how much this term includes their identities. We will strive to be as specific as possible.
Introduction from Shavanah Taj, General Secretary of the Wales TUC
As Trade Unionists we celebrate Black History Month, recognising our history and building for the future. The covid pandemic has highlighted, inequalities run deep into the services we use and the treatment we receive.
Our history has informed our present.
Workplaces are still not equal places and actions are needed to change that. Unions are key to making these changes through bargaining, negotiation and collective action. As Trade Unionists, we must work together to provide solidarity, opportunities and a fair deal for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers.
We’re choosing to stand up against racism and hate wherever we find it. We’re confident in our common values of respect and equality for all people in Wales.
We are proudly listing the actions that we can take. Aimed at reps and union members they outline how we can all make a difference in our workplaces. We know what racism is, we know how harmful it is to people and to our communities. We’ve spoken to government, we’ve informed policies, we’ve made many changes and plans. Now is the time to take action so that we can make genuine moves towards anti-racism.
We will work towards creating further resources, to help drill down into these actions and provide you with step by step guides on how to carry out these changes.
The Equality Act
The Equality Act 2010 is a law that is supposed to protect workers from unfair treatment due to age, sex, race and a number of other characteristics. This law can only protect workers if there are strong equal opportunities policies and practices within every organisation.
As the Welsh Government looks to deliver the Anti-Racism Action Plan, trade unions are at the forefront of making sure that workplaces deliver good quality, fair work for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic workers.
This means safe workplaces, where:
Here are 10 actions that reps can take to make real practical changes in workplaces
Find out the race of all workers, what grade each worker is employed on and what contract type. This is important to know as many Black Asian and Minority Ethnic workers are underemployed and are working below their qualification level, and often on poorer quality contracts.
Find out how many roles are currently being undertaken on a zero-hour contract. Work towards providing these workers with decent contracts.
Create a workplace agreement on the treatment of workers who experience racism, both from colleagues or from customers or clients. Work through actions that will be taken to address the racism and protect the worker experiencing racism.
Negotiate that your workplace delivers anti-racism training to all members of staff and set up clearly a code of conduct within the workplace.
Keeping track of what data is being collected and why is important.
Monitoring your workplace to make sure that they know where people are working and what types of contracts they are on, can be useful in negotiations.
Here are a list of questions that can help you in the monitoring process:
Small changes can make a big difference – anonymised application forms, providing opportunities to visit the workplace prior to interview and guaranteed interview schemes for Black, Asian, and Ethnic minority workers may be positive steps to make your workplace a more welcoming place.
This checklist identifies question that you should ask yourself before putting together a list of demands on changes to your recruitment and selection procedures that you put forward to management
As workplaces continue moving towards more automated workplaces, they are losing jobs at the foundational level, many of these are held by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers.
Run a retraining and retaining programme to make sure that there are opportunities to progress and stay within the organisation if job roles change
This checklist covers issues that you should think about before putting together a list of demands on changes to your career development processes.
This can help to find out how workers are treated within the organisation and if they are dealing with any workplace issues. It must be supported by Trade Unions.
Step 1: talking to the workers who have been affected by discrimination
Step 2: Create a course of action before approaching management
Step 3: Start thinking about possible solutions and how you can gain support from the majority of your union members. For instance, would a workplace campaign be the most effective way to raise awareness of the issue?
Step 4: Think about how management might respond.
Step 5: Clarify the exact objectives you’re hoping to achieve.
You should have this ready before you approach management. When approaching management, it’s also very important that the voices of Black workers are represented.
And of course, you need to ensure that any agreement you reach with your employer benefits all union members equally.
Many workplaces will outwardly celebrate Black History Month without taking actions to support their own workers.
Work with your employer to make sure that they don’t just pay lip service and their actions are not performative.
Your actions are important, and they rely on having a well organised workplace. Ensure that your union is taking steps to see Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic people represented at every level.