Usdaw Conference, Portsmouth
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
On the 29th and 30th June, Usdaw held their annual Southern Members Conference in Portsmouth and invited Show Racism the Red Card to make a presentation to delegates.
Southern Region Manager Steve Goodsell gave a 1-hour presentation on the work of SRtRC in schools and at football clubs, giving members the opportunity to take part in discussions, just as we would do in the classroom. Steve used some of SRtRC's innovative educational resources to look at issues such as 'defining racism', 'stereotyping', 'terminology' and 'influences of racist attitudes'. Delegates were particularly interested in the reported rise of Far Right activity, something that had been discussed in a previous workshop. Steve talked about the growth of groups such as the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) and highlighted how football clubs and supporters are being targeted as places for recruitment.
The Question and Answer session covered many different issues around racism, including religion and nationality. Several delegates had experienced racism themselves, either in the workplace or in their community. Levels of racism within the retail sector are on the rise, particularly since the EU Referendum; not only from the public but shamefully from some employers as well. Dave McCrossen, Deputy General Secretary of Usdaw, told delegates 'that there was no place for complacency when faced with racism in the workplace and in society, and that people needed to take action by challenging discrimination - not sit back and turn a blind eye'.
Following the presentation by Steve, delegates were unanimous in agreeing that any monies collected from the evening's Raffle and Quiz Night should be donated to Show Racism the Red Card.
Our thanks to Usdaw for their continued sponsorship of the Show Racism the Red Card campaign and to their members for their kind generosity.