Transfer stimulates dialogue between the European trade union movement and the academic and research community. It contributes research findings on issues of strategic relevance for trade unions, in particular with regard to developments at the European level. Transfer publishes original peer-reviewed research on issues such as new developments in industrial relations, social policy, and labour market developments.

Volume 13 Issue 3, Autumn 2007

Racism continues to be a significant problem in Europe. A Special Eurobarometer survey conducted in June-July 2006 showed that 64% of the citizens of the EU-25 believed there was widespread discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin in Europe. More specifically, 77% felt that being a Roma was a disadvantage, and 62% felt the same about being of a different ethnic origin than the majority of the population.

Racism is a particular problem for the trade union movement. In the survey just quoted, while 20% of Europe’s citizens felt that employers and companies have ‘an important role to play in combating discrimination’ only 8% felt the same about trade unions. This issue of Transfer focuses on how trade unions can better combat the direct and indirect discrimination that occurs on grounds of racial difference – and that can be and is directed against citizens with a ‘minority’ skin colouring or ‘minority’ culture. The articles in this issue are based on research carried out under a major EU-funded research project into how the trade unions mediate racism in the workplace (RITU). The RITU project research covered five countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy and the UK. A future issue of Transfer (4/2008) will deal with the overlapping issue of discrimination against recent migrant workers.

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