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Issue #1743      August 10, 2016

Tackling hate crime

BRITAIN: Unions have been urged to take a leading role in stamping out racist hate crimes in the wake of the referendum vote to leave the European Union. A new Trade Union Congress report calls for action to deal with a dramatic increase in racist hate crimes following the Brexit victory.

It calls for more funding for key Civil Service areas, including HM Revenue and Customs, the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority and the Border Force.

The report also argues against cuts to public spending in areas including the NHS, education, social services and other key public services, such as English language courses for immigrants.

Welcoming the report, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) stressed the importance of tackling racism and demanded expansion of the migration impact fund.

The union said it would present a motion to the annual TUC Congress in September condemning “the government’s increasingly vitriolic rhetoric on immigration, including the introduction of policies such as Theresa May’s ‘Go Home’ vans.”

It argued that the EU referendum result “has encouraged and provided legitimacy for the open expression of such prejudice.”

The planned motion will say that Ukip and sections of the Tory Party have sought to channel the anger at injustice felt in many working-class communities into blaming migration and migrants for low pay, unemployment, housing shortages and poor public services.

It also calls for a “new anti-racism campaign that is integrated with an active anti-cuts, anti-austerity campaign.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The rise in racism during and since the EU referendum is sickening, but it didn’t come from nowhere. Successive governments must shoulder the blame.

“Unions have a vital role to play in tackling this, but it must go hand in hand with a campaign to end austerity and develop a clear alternative economic policy to provide decent jobs and hope for the future.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady called on the public to “stand up for modern British and trade union values,” including respecting difference and showing a profound opposition to racism and extremism. “And it means standing together against any resurgence in racism or xenophobia,” she added.

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