Wednesday 21 March 2018

One-in-five heard racist comments from colleagues

Anne-Marie Walsh

MORE than one in five mid-ranking civil servants heard colleagues make racist remarks about customers or clients in the past year, according to a new survey.

The report also reveals that 7pc of the staff witnessed a client or customer being subjected to racist remarks or behaviour.

Almost 5pc said they witnessed a colleague being discriminated against because of their race.

However, just 4pc felt they had been discriminated against because of their race.

The survey by a civil service union was carried out among its members in government departments, including social welfare and passport offices where civil servants deal directly with the public.

It also shows there is little understanding among state employees of their employer's policy on racism.

The Public Service Executive Union was unable to give examples of the racist remarks that were overheard, as the survey did not ask for details.

However, it said public service management needed to act to make staff aware of its anti-racism polices.

"To be quite frank, it does show that the departments have anti-racism policies but nobody knows anything about them," said Deputy General Secretary Billy Hannigan.

"Clearly, there is an issue if 26pc of staff believe their colleagues are making racist remarks. If there are issues, these have to be addressed by the employers."

Almost three-quarters of the staff said they did not believe their employers' anti-racism policies were well known.

A total of 60pc were unaware of whether their employer had an anti-racism policy.

Irish Independent

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