Research perspectives

TUC survey highlights continuing racism at work

Racism Ruins Lives study, based on a survey carried out by the TUC, has found that racism remains a major issue in working life in the UK. A majority (65%) of the 5,000 black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers responding to the survey said that they had experienced racial harassment at work in the last five years and 49% believed that they have been treated unfairly by their employer because of their race. Almost half (46 per cent) of respondents reported they had been subjected to verbal abuse and racist jokes at work, a third had been bullied and subjected to “ignorant or insensitive” questions, and 11% experienced racist violence at work.

The TUC said while there is considerable statistical data available about levels of unemployment, lack of promotion and disproportionately low levels of access to training, there is little discussion about the day to day experiences of BAME workers.

“The effect of racism at work has become the invisible issue…The experiences of participants highlighted in this report challenge the assumption that racism is only a problem when specific incidents of racism take place. It highlights the accumulative effect that institutional racism has on BAME workers’ health, wellbeing and ability to function at work.”