Racism in Belgium’s labour market, says European network


A report just released by the European Network Against Racism concludes that Belgium’s labour market suffers under racism and xenophobia

“Continuing inequality”

The Belgian labour market is based on “ethnostratification”, according to the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), meaning that racial and ethnic origin play a major role in determining a person’s employment prospects.

The network found Belgium to be a source of “continuing inequality and an undeniable hierarchy of socio-economic positions”. The least likely to benefit from employment opportunities in Europe, according to the network, are those of Maghreb origin from North Africa. In Belgium, that translates to those of Moroccan background.

Black Africans are the group with the second-worst job prospects in Belgium, followed by those from Italy and Eastern Europe.

According to the report, the same hierarchy comes into play at all levels of employment, from access to jobs up to the risk of redundancy. The report also notes that the same inequalities will come into play regardless of economic factors. “Racism structures the world of employment and work,” the report concludes.

The ENAR report makes a number of recommendations: ethnic quotas in government jobs, based on what is called “inclusive neutrality”; positive discrimination; opening government jobs up to non-citizens, in particular from outside of Europe; and reforms to public holidays to remove religious connotations.

Photo by Ingimage