Unite claims there is a 15% gap between the employment rates of black, Asian and ethnic minority workers and their white colleagues and last year almost 6,000 race discrimination cases were heard by employment tribunals, with countless more being settled before that stage, reflecting the extent of race equality issues at work today.
The union says using the provisions of the new Equality Act union reps can make real improvements in the treatment of minority ethnic workers.
Collette Cork-Hurst, Unite national officer for equalities, said: "Unfortunately, discrimination against black workers at work continues to blight today’s labour market. Black, Asian and ethnic minority workers find it harder to find decent employment and, sadly, too many then encounter discrimination once at work.
"Black people and their families will be particularly hurt by the coalition cuts but Unite is determined they get the fairer treatment they deserve at work.
"October is Black History Month so while we celebrate the contributions black, Asian and ethnic minorities have made and continue to make to our society, it is also fitting that we continue to press forward on equality.
"Unite’s ‘Race Forward’ campaign will help us take real action. We are determined that our union reps are equipped to take discrimination issues up with employers, if need be, using the legal backing of the new Equality Act to ensure the decent treatment of our members."
Unite’s ‘Race Forward’ action pack guides workplace union representatives through a five-point action plan on key employment issues facing black people such as racial discrimination in recruitment, promotion and pay, as well as dealing effectively with racial harassment and bullying.