Labour Research May 2003

News from LRD

Conference challenges racism at work

More than 80 people attended the Labour Research Department (LRD) conference last month on combating racism at work, most representing their local trade union branches.

Delegates heard from a range of speakers including national union officers and those involved in challenging racism at a local level. Gloria Mills, the UNISON public service union's national organiser for equalities, spoke of the union's plans to review all aspects of the service they provide to black members.

And the TUC's Roger McKenzie reported on the work of its Stephen Lawrence Taskforce, highlighting progress such as an increase in the number of TUC tutors from ethnic minorities from only six or seven some years ago to between 60 and 70 now.

Former T&G general union rep at Plymouth CityBus, Mike Auguste, gave delegates a personal account of how he tackled the racism he faced when becoming the only black bus driver in the company.

LRD's employment law researcher, Sonia McKay, outlined the work LRD has done for the TUC and UNISON on institutional racism and migrant workers, pointing out that these issues are now representing a greater share of LRD's commissioned research work.

During the afternoon session the TUC's multinational projects officer, Nick Clark, and Don Flynn from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants considered the new challenges facing trade unions in recruiting and protecting migrant workers.