Business Depends on Anti-Racism

A conference for employers and trade unionists today marks the end of the ‘Anti-Racist Workplace Week’. This is a joint initiative to promote anti-racist workplaces, between Congress, IBEC, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and the Equality Authority. The conference is being held at the Camden Court Hotel from 11 am to 1 pm.

During the week there were activities and events at organisational, local and regional levels. These included awareness training, seminars on recruitment and anti-racism, highlighting services for minority ethnic groups, information seminars, anti-racism forums and publication of research and information packs.

At the closing conference entitled ‘Delivering Race Equality in the workplace in the 21st Century’ Gurbux Singh, Chairperson of the UK Commission for Racial Equality delivered the keynote address.

“Companies, businesses and organisations in both the public and private sector have started to realise that their workforces are their most valuable assets. Much thought and effort is invested by companies in recruiting good people. And that applies to ethnic minorities too. Many organisations have already realised that a good worker is a good worker, regardless of the colour of their skin, sex, religion, cultural origin or any other differentiating factor.”

Mr. Singh believes that we are at a turning point in history, an exciting and unique time in the movement for Equality. There is a climate for change and a real desire to see change take place. One of the fundamental principles of equality is that every individual has the right to work in an atmosphere which is free from harassment and discrimination. Referring to the cultural diversity in society he stated that everyone

“Has the right to live their lives free from the shadow of discrimination, free from the fear of injustice, free from the threat of violence. And everyone should have the unfettered right to enjoy their daily lives in the knowledge that they are equal with their fellow citizens, regardless of race or ethnicity.”

Niall Crowley CEO of the Equality Authority stated that there is a strong business case for recognising equality and respecting differing identities. The anti-racist workplace week becomes the launching pad for a better future for all in Irish society. We need to continue such building blocks “to develop our knowledge base about issues, stimulate practical initiatives to create an harassment free work environment and reinforce a societal consensus that racism forms no part of our value base”. A Resource pack aimed at developing good anti-racist policy and practice in the workplace is available from the Equality Authority.