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Trade union anti-racism manifesto

Anti-Racism Taskforce 2022-2027
Report type
Research and reports
Issue date

Over the past two years, the TUC’s Anti-Racism Task Force has scrutinised our movement, and found us wanting. We acknowledge that the trade union movement and individual unions still have some way to go to represent Black workers fully and none of our trade unions is exempt from the existence of institutional racism.

This manifesto has been shaped by important research including research which centres the voices of Black workers from across the movement. It sets out what trade unions, and the movement as a whole, will do to make sure we secure the economic and social justice of Black communities. Along with the Anti-Racism Action Plan adopted by Congress it sets out how we will refresh, renew and reboot the movement’s campaigning, organising and bargaining work. And what we need to do to tackle racial inequalities in our workplaces and communities.

The TUC’s Anti-Racism Implementation and Oversight Group will report regularly to the General Council and annually to Congress on the progress and outcomes of this important work for the next five years, as we work to secure transformative change.

This manifesto sets out our intent and provides a mechanism for us to monitor and assess our progress and review the changes we need to see in our unions and across our movement.

Download manifesto - PDF

Our commitments

Collective bargaining – putting race on the agenda

1. We will put racial equality at the centre of our collective bargaining agreements, by working alongside Black members to identify the key bargaining issues and making sure that Black workers voices are represented at the negotiating table.

2. We will identify a mechanism to monitor cases to tackle race discrimination in the workplace and report on progress, wins and losses.

3. We will work to improve the confidence of Black workers in our ability to represent them on all matters, including tackling racism at work, by providing adequate information to the TUC Equality Audit.

4. We will implement training for our negotiators to secure racial justice at work by ensuring that Black activists and/or trainers are included on review panels.

5. We will demand that employers monitor and review their recruitment, retention and employment practices and we will press for action by employers to tackle underrepresentation, outsourcing/two-tier employment and to eliminate race pay gaps.

6. We will champion cases of race discrimination and ensure that our decision-making processes are speedy, open and fair, while ensuring that Black members are supported effectively.

7. We will train and develop our caseworkers on the strategic use of litigation to advance racial justice in the workplace, integrating anti-racism principles in litigation and casework, and ensuring all staff follow an agreed litigation and campaign strategy for actively challenging racism.

Organising – building our diversity

8. We will develop and implement strategies to recruit and engage Black workers in all sectors, especially in those areas where there is low union density.

9. We will make member recruitment practices more relevant to Black workers by building and improving links between our trade unions and Black communities.

10. We will monitor and evaluate our progress in recruiting and retaining Black workers in our unions, and collect data on Black reps recruited into rep roles.

11. We will establish a programme to increase the representation of Black activists in our structures and set targets to improve the representation of Black workers at all levels in our union structures, including on our main decision-making bodies, nationally and regionally.

12. We will offer dedicated anti-racist education to all union branches and regions, including specific work to ensure we identify and progress race discrimination claims.

13. We will develop and support anti-racist networks of our members and activists.

14. We will ensure that our policies and procedures are effective in dealing with all forms of race discrimination and harassment within our lay structures, including offering an anonymous reporting process for members to raise concerns about their experiences when they interact with their union.

15. We will deploy targeted training, resources, and finances to build a cadre of Black trade union activists and to widen and develop the pool of experienced Black trade union tutors.

Public policy – demanding better

16. We will work alongside race equality organisations to highlight and challenge racist policies that impact on Black workers and the wider Black community.

17. We will run campaigns to tackle racism in the labour market and create better working conditions for Black workers.

18. We will ensure all our campaigning and policy influencing explicitly consider and include race equality, including campaigning on casualisation, outsourcing, fire and rehire, mass redundancies, the hostile environment and holding the government to account through the Covid public inquiry.

19. We will campaign for stronger legislation and enforcement, and monitoring in the workplace across all sectors and industries.

20. We will call for the strengthening of legislation as well as to systematically use laws and other relevant legislation in negotiations with employers.

21. We will campaign for the introduction of mandatory race pay gap reporting across all sectors and industries.

22. We will campaign for the introduction of race equality requirements in public sector contracts for the supply of goods and services, and demand that racial justice outcomes are an essential criteria for the award of public contracts.

Unions as employers – leading by example

23. We will work in partnership with our Black employees and with our staff trade unions to take forward our work on anti-racism.

24. We will monitor and review our progress in relation to recruitment, retention, progression, promotion, performance management, discipline and grievance and training of Black employees and report on our progress annually.

25. We will establish a comprehensive ethnicity pay gap reporting system and publish annual action plans to close any gaps.

26. We will ensure zero tolerance of racism in our workplaces.

27. We will set targets for race equality in our workplaces and work to improve the representation of Black employees in senior positions in our union structures.

As trade unions, we must commit ourselves to these actions to make a lasting impact on the economic and social justice of Black communities. This is our collective commitment, which requires regular engagement with our Black members’ groups who are actively dealing with issues concerning Black members in our unions. We will discuss the actions outlined in this document and report on progress to the TUC’s Anti-Racism Implementation and Oversight Group every year.

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