Unprecedented global collaboration at ILO Committee 2 to combat racism in the workplace. In a historic session, Committee 2 of the International Labour Organization (ILO 2) brought together representatives of thirty-three States to address the pressing problem of racism in the workplace. Chaired by Adrienne Husny, Grace Baylis and Selma Surieux, the committee sought solutions to combat racism and challenge gender stereotypes in the third sector.

The committee, made up of influential nations such as the US, China and the UK, recognised the urgent need to act on the alarming rise in workplace discrimination on the basis of ethnicity. The resolution, spearheaded by spokespersons from Sweden, received significant support from co-signatories such as Germany, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

Committee members underlined the fundamental importance of fostering an inclusive work environment, where diversity is not only accepted but celebrated. Interventions by several delegates reiterated the sentiment that discrimination in the workplace is an impediment to social justice and sustainable world peace.

One aspect of the resolution that attracted particular attention was the creation of a supervisory body within the ILO. This body would play a crucial role in gathering information, developing international guidelines to protect complainants and conducting statistical tests on companies to analyse their responses to discrimination problems.

One of the innovative aspects of the resolution is the call for large companies to be transparent about the ethnic pay gap. Companies with more than 250 employees are encouraged to disclose pay differentials, and could be fined if the difference exceeds 10%. The resolution also calls for the creation of a commission to annually assess the extent of racism in the workplace, on a global scale.

In addition to calling for sanctions against perpetrators of verbal or non-verbal racist attacks, the commission also aims to change the organisational culture by promoting non-discriminatory training programmes and mechanisms to ensure equal access to promotion.

This resolution by ILO Committee 2 is not simply a response to a problem, but a bold statement in favour of a future that celebrates diversity and where all people, regardless of their background, can thrive in a fair and equitable working environment. 

Léa Mongenot and Kenza Zaulfikaraly