International Day against Racism

19 Mar 2021

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Racism has no place in Irish society and workplaces

On the eve of this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March), Congress reiterates our commitment to fighting racism xenophobia, far-right ideologies, and to stand in solidarity with those affected. 

Even before the pandemic, racialised people were less likely to have adequate access to social protection and quality public health and care services and were disproportionally represented in low-paying and precarious jobs, including in those sectors that were deemed ‘essential’, such as health and care, cleaning, transport, meat processing and food-retail.  

Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp relief the need to urgently uproot and dismantle systemic inequalities that have persisted for far too long within our society and workplaces.

While some have cynically exploited the pandemic to oppose public health restrictions, their real agenda is to further racist and discriminatory views. They have not had it their own way however with the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others at the hands of authorities ensuring that racial justice has not fallen off the agenda during the current crisis and beyond.

Congress Has a long history of opposing racism and working to ensure that the fundamental right of every worker, including black and minority ethnic people to be free from discrimination is vindicated.

So for us, although the fight against racism and xenophobia in all its forms is not new, we acknowledge that trade union action is now more urgent than ever. Trade unions will continue to organise and bargain to fight racism at work and to tackle ongoing disparities in health and safety, pay, and working conditions for racialised workers that the pandemic has shone a light upon.

This World Anti-Racism Day Congress stands alongside trade unions everywhere, and all other anti-racist activists and movements to fight all forms of discrimination against racialised people.