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Monday, October 11, 1999 Published at 13:57 GMT 14:57 UK


Action demanded over workplace racism

Sukhjit Parma broke down in tears over racist taunts

Anti-racism charters should be set up in every workplace as part of attempts to end discrimination and bullying, a union leader has demanded.

Sir Ken Jackson, general secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, has written to Home Secretary Jack Straw to press for the move.

[ image: Sir Ken wants Mr Straw to hold talks with the Commission for Racial Equality]
Sir Ken wants Mr Straw to hold talks with the Commission for Racial Equality
It follows two unofficial strikes at Ford's Dagenham plant in Essex over allegations of racism and bullying.

Sir Ken wants Mr Straw to hold talks with unions, employers and the Commission of Racial Equality over racism at work.

He believes a charter would give workers an avenue for raising concerns about race-related incidents and would force companies to stamp out the problem.

Sir Ken said: "We can't tolerate racism in any workplace. The problems at Dagenham must serve as a wake-up call. A charter in every workplace would help workers deal with racism."

Years of abuse

Ford is facing a strike ballot at Dagenham after complaints from workers that the company was not doing enough to tackle race-related and bullying incidents.

Last month Ford apologised to an Indian worker who had suffered years of racial abuse and threats from colleagues.

Sukhjit Parma was taunted with images of the extreme white-supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan when he worked at the Dagenham plant.

Graffiti was scrawled on his pay packet, while he was threatened with physical assault and sent to work in an area known as the "punishment cell" - where he had no protective mask in a small, fume-filled spray booth.

Mr Parma, 34, broke down in tears after winning an employment tribunal and describing what he had suffered.

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