Workplace racism is ‘damaging’ careers, TUC claims

Racism in the British workplace is “damaging” the career prospects of many black workers, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has claimed.

The TUC said that black workers get less training opportunities, although they are often better qualified than their white counterparts.

A TUC report, released to coincide with the TUC’s annual Black Worker’s conference, has claimed that even though job related training is more likely to be offered to qualified workers, qualified black and minority ethnic workers (BME) receive less opportunities.

The report found that 31% of BME workers had never been offered training by their current employers, compared to 29% of white employees. It also found that 28% of BMEs are graduates, compared to just 20% of white employees – but found that 20% of black workers with degrees had never been offered training, compared to 17% of white workers.

The TUC also claimed that certain ethnic groups, particularly Pakistani and Bangladeshi employees, faced “real barriers” to training opportunities, with nearly two-fifths (39%) of Pakistani employees and nearly half (47%) of Bangladeshi workers having never been offered training. The figure for Bangladeshi men was found to be even higher at 51%.

Certain industries had a “clear divide” in equality of training access, the TUC reported. Manufacturing was reported to be the worst, with nearly half (48%) of BME workers claiming to have never been offered training, compared to 37% of white employees.

However, the TUC found that for workers in the public sector, or in workplaces with trade union recognition, training opportunities are “much improved”. The report found that 15% of BME public sector employees had never been offered training, compared to 37% in the private sector, while 16% of BME workers belonging to a trade union had never been offered training, compared to 36% of non-union BME employees.

Commenting on the report, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: “Racism at work is still preventing too many black workers from fulfilling their potential. We need new legislation that will force all employers to give equal access to training for all workers. The TUC is campaigning to extend Britain’s race relations law to make all workplaces respond positively to the training needs of black workers.”


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