An Asian Royal Mail worker who was subjected to a campaign of racist intimidation and threats from his co-workers and even the work’s union, after he exposed a culture of racism where he worked has won £100,000 at an employment tribunal.
Abdul Musa and other Asian employees who worked at the East Lancashire Royal Mail sorting office were subjected to a culture of what has been described as ‘endemic racism’. (Racism at East Lancashire Royal Mail sorting office: By Peter Magill, Chief reporter: Lancashire Telegraph: Wednesday, 1 August, 2012)
According to Peter Magill, Chief reporter for the Lancashire Telegraph, Musa and other Asian Royal Mail workers were referred to as ‘cockroaches’, ‘vermin‘ and ‘Pakis‘ by white co-workers and when he complained to management the campaign of racism towards him intensified.
The Equality Commission issued a report which condemned Royal Mail for failing to protect Musa and other Asian workers. The Commission said that management was well aware that there was a culture of racism at the Blackburn’s Canterbury Street depot where Musa worked but did not act.
In fact when Musa did complain to management suspicious and spectacular allegations accusing him of racism and even sexual counter accusations led to his dismissal in 2007.
The judge presiding over the employment tribunal ruled that Musa was unfairly dismissed and discriminated against by his employer on the grounds of his race. Tribunal judge Mrs C Porter said, “The procedure adopted by the respondent (Royal Mail) for the investigations and disciplinary action was shambolic.”
Neil Donovan, an independent investigator concluded that Musa was racially abused and physically harassed by more than a dozen colleagues, including more disturbingly, members of the Communication Workers Union, who according to the Lancashire Telegraph, intimidated witnesses.
Postal worker Christopher Eccles, who has been identified as one of the main culprits of the racist campaign towards Musa has been sacked, and 12 others have been disciplined.
On one occasion graffiti appeared in a staff toilet saying “Kill the Paki“, after strike action related to the incidents.
Racism against black and minority ethnic employees not reported in the media
Abdul Musa’s case is just one of many cases involving a black or minority ethnic employee who has had to endure racism at work. Regular readers of this website will have remembered the case of former UPS Courier Service employee Clive Henry, who appealed a race discrimination tribunal decision after he was forced to resign following excessive work demands from his employer. (Read Clive Henry Vs UPS Ltd – Race Discrimination Case pending date in the Court of Appeal)
There was also Rosie Purves, a black nurse who took the health bosses of Southampton University Hospitals to a tribunal after she was prevented from looking after a white child with cystic fibrosis following a complaint by the child’s mother who said that did not want a black person looking after her child. (Read Black nurse who fought against racism in the NHS dies of cancer)
In the same article there is also the case of Milton Hanson, who was sacked from his job for exposing the racist degrading practices on black people at a sexual health clinic in South London in 2003, and when he exposed these practices was sacked for whistleblowing.
On the Liverpool Echowebsite, John Siddle reports on the conclusions of an academic study by Professor Bill Boyle and Marie Charles of Manchester University which said that black teachers in Liverpool are the victims of racial prejudice. (Liverpool’s black teachers are ‘victims of racial prejudice,’ academic report says: By John Siddle: Liverpool Echo: July 30, 2012)
One teacher said, “When I do something, I do not get the credit but when someone else does something it is blown into ‘look what ‘X’ has done’ I feel miserable. I feel that I have to work harder just to be equal.” Another said, “Racial discrimination is very common. Some teachers discriminate openly. One of my colleagues withdrew from the training programme because of it.”
Only a few days ago Mark McCammon, a former Gillingham FC black football player, successfully won his tribunal case against the football club for racial discrimination and unfair dismissal.
According to the London Evening Standard, McCammon said that he and other black players at the club were treated differently from white players. This included being told to turn up at the club in perilous snowy driving conditions while white players were instructed to stay home and him being treated for injuries on the NHS whilst a white player was flown to Dubai for treatment at the club’s expense. (Black footballer Mark McCammon was racially victimised by Gillingham FC: London Evening Standard: 30 July, 2012)
It is said to be the first case of its kind where a black footballer has successfully brought a case of racial victimisation against a football club.
McCammon told the Guardian that he hoped his case would encourage other black footballers to speak out against racism and not “suffer the traumatic treatment that he has for doing so.” (Mark McCammon wins racism case against Gillingham FC: By Caroline Davies: Monday, 30 July, 2012)
Abdul Musa is not alone, many workers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds suffer racism on a daily basis across all employment sectors, whether it is sport, in an office, the NHS or the legal profession, black and minority ethnic workers are forced to suffer in silence and work within a work culture of racism.
With mortgages to pay amongst other bills or a family to care for it can be very difficult for black and minority ethnic employees to complain officially about workplace racism. The fear of losing their job or even jeopardising their chances of promotion is sometimes enough to make many remain quiet about their ordeal.
Yet without individuals like Abdul Musa, Rosie Purves, Milton Hanson and Clive Henry etc., there can be no progress in employment race equality and the battle against racism in our wider society becomes futile. Someone has to take a stand, and sooner or later more of us need to continue to take a stand against racism in the workplace.
For further research: