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Quarter of civil servants heard colleagues make racist comments

A new survey also showed that 60 per cent of staff did not know if their department offers training dealing with anti-racism and intercultural issues.
Jul 23rd 2012, 2:40 PM 3,828 37

MORE THAN A quarter of civil servants have seen a colleague making a racist comment about a client or customer, according to a new survey.

The survey was carried out by the Public Service Executive Union, and showed that 26.4 per cent of staff surveyed said they had seen such an incident.


When asked if they themselves have personally been subjected to discrimination, harassment, bullying, physical, emotional or verbal abuse in their workplace because of their race, 3.5 per cent of civil servants said yes, while 96.5 per cent said no.

Asked if they witnessed any colleague being subjected to discrimination in the workplace, 4.5 per cent said yes, while 95.5 per cent said no.

Respondents said that 6.8 per cent of them had witnessed a client/customer of their department being subjected to racist remarks or behaviour because of his/her race.

One hundred per cent of management surveyed said their department has a specific anti-racism and inter-cultural policy, while half of departments have a plan which includes specific anti-racism and inter-cultural training.

But 60 per cent of staff said they did not know if their department offers training dealing with anti-racism and inter-cultural issues, while 22.74 per cent said yes it does and 17.2 -per cent said it doesn’t.


According to the survey, 56.25 per cent of those running the departments said all staff in the PSEU grades have received anti-racism training while 37.5 per cent said they hadn’t.

Seventy five per cent said that staff have received training on the relevant equality legislation, while 25 per cent said they hadn’t.

When asked if staff are aware of the relevant equality legislation, 81.25 per cent say yes and 12.5 per cent said no.

In total, 20.3 per cent of staff said they had been offered training dealing with anti-racism and inter-cultural issues, while 79.7 per cent said they had not.

Billy Hannigan of the PSEU said that the survey showed a significant dichotomy between management’s perception of access to training and the PSEU members’ perception.

He said that it is an issue that people need to be reminded about, and that that though he doesn’t think there is more racism in the civil service than there is in any other business, it is “clearly an issue management need to look at”.

Hannigan said he hopes those who view the results will see that there is a gap there that needs to be addressed.

Read: New website allows people to record and monitor racism>

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Aoife Barry


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