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Challenging racism after the EU referendum

An action plan for challenging racism and xenophobia.

The immediate aftermath of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union has seen a dramatic upsurge in reports of racist abuse and hate crime directed at EU and other migrants and British BME communities.

Racist violence, abuse and harassment are not new and did not suddenly appear during or after the referendum on EU membership. But it appears that the negative portrayal of migrants during the campaign has given confidence to some with racist attitudes to voice their view publicly, and has increased the visibility of the far right.

This paper sets out what government and employers can and should do now to tackle racism and xenophobia. Our key areas for recommendations are:

1. Swift government action on hate crime
2. A cross-government action plan to tackle racism and discrimination
3. Zero tolerance of racism and harassment at work
4. Strengthening anti-discrimination rights and protection
5. Increasing support and advice at work

The TUC and our member unions are determined to play a leading role in tackling racism and xenophobia. As well as making recommendations in this paper, we joined the EHRC, ACAS, the CBI and other employers’ organisations immediately after the referendum to provide practical advice and guidance for employers1. We have also produced a guide for union reps2 to support them to tackle racist abuse and harassment in the workplace. This will go hand in hand with practical action to combat racism and division, including by working through our regions and the Wales TUC to reach communities around the country.


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