Fifty representatives from more than ten trade unions attend ‘Challenging Racism in the Workplace’ conference at Sunderland AFC’s Stadium of Light
The TUC, Union Learn and Show Racism the Red Card delivered a joint event to representatives from ten trade unions; all of whom were seeking to improve their practices in challenging racism in the workplace.
The conference, which enabled delegates to share their own practices and experiences and learn from one another, featured key note addresses from a number of guest speakers, as well as workshops from Show racism the Red Card staff which explored the boundaries to challenging racism and the role of racism in the immigration debate.
The conference was opened by TUC President Mohammad Taj, who drew on his own experiences of racism suffered as a bus driver before clearly laying out the congress’ position on issues such as immigration and presenting a strong and inspiring anti-racism message.
Education workers from Show Racism the Red Card then lead delegates in a discussion about the barriers to challenging racism; encouraging them to recognise their own prejudices and sharing strategies for ensuring positive and productive discussions.
Martin Hegerty, the TUC’s Education Officer then explained to delegates the support and resources available to them to assist in challenging racism within the workplace, before the fifty trade union representatives explored best practice in recognising and responding to racist incidents through an interactive workshop lead by Education workers from SRtRC.
After a break for lunch, the delegates listened to key note speeches from Riz Rehman of the PFA, who spoke about the organisations initiatives in increase the focus on equality and diversity within football clubs, and from former Sunderland AFC captain Gary Bennett, now head coach with SRtRC.
Both Riz and Gary spoke out their experiences of racism within the workplace and their personal and professional fights to challenge racism.
Delegates then took part in a workshop to explore the myths surrounding immigration and look at the impact of racism on the ability to have a sensible and balanced discussion on the issue. SRtRC educators provided guidance on effective strategies for discussing the issue in a balanced way and shared their experiences of educating both young people and adults about immigration.
Whilst the Trade Unionists sessions were running, over 70 young people from local schools arrived to take part in their own anti-racism workshops and to learn more about the role of Trade Unions. Linda Hughes of UNITE delivered a workshop exploring the history and development of the trade union movement, helping the young people to understand more about the support available to them as the move from full time education into employment.
Former Newcastle United players Olivier Bernard and Richard Offiong, now educators with SRtRC, lead the young people in workshop designed to explore the dangers of stereotyping; helping to challenge myths and assumptions.
The conference culminated in a question and answer session during which the young people were given the opportunity to ask questions about racism, the trade union movement and the relationship between the two to a panel of guests which include Wilf Sullivan of the TUC, former Newcastle United player and Republic of Ireland international John Anderson, Linda Hughes of UNITE, ex Sunderland captain Gary Bennett, Fazia Hussain-Brown, Transport Officer for UNITE and former Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace full-back Dean Gordon.
Show Racism the Red Card would like to thank the TUC and UnionLearn for helping to deliver an excellent and valuable event. Thanks also goes to the young people involved for offering a fresh and important perspective, and to all of the guest speakers and contributors on the day. Show Racism the Red Card would also like to thank everyone at Sunderland AFC for their continued support.
To find out how Show Racism the Red Card can assist with challenging racism within your workplace, contact the team on 0191 257 8519 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org