Racial justice for all: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 21 March

Racism, xenophobia and discriminatory attitudes are on the rise globally.

Trade unions have long fought for equality, equity and non-discrimination at work and in the wider society through awareness-raising campaigns, organising, and advocacy, including through the promotion of key international legal instruments such as the ILO Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention(No. 111), one of the eight ILO fundamental conventions.

Racialised, working people have been at the front line of the pandemic, putting themselves and their families at risk while they have suffered disproportionally from the devastating socio-economic impacts of the health crisis in the form of job loss and loss of income.

These impacts have compounded already existing and persistent racial inequalities in wages, recruitment, promotion and training opportunities at work, as well as barriers to accessing adequate social protection.

In order to address these disparities, trade unions in a number of countries are calling for targeted measures to dismantle racism and discrimination in employment, such as mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting (to expose the disparities in pay among workers of colour and ethnic minorities) and increased investments in public care services to support all those who need care as well as care workers, many of whom are often women of colour.

Structural racism is still determining the lives and prospects of millions of working people globally. People with intersecting identities, in particular women of colour, LGBTIQ+ people or people living with disabilities, face additional fundamental barriers to their social and economic advancement. Refugees too are experiencing racial discrimination. This must stop.

On 21 March, trade unions around the world are calling for a New Social Contract that secures jobs, rights, wages (including equal pay for work of equal value), universal social protection, equality, and inclusion for all with no exceptions.

We cannot achieve a sustainable and peaceful recovery and resilience without securing racial justice for all.