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Engineer's racism settlement sparks attack on construction

CONSTRUCTION'S RECORD on tackling racism came under attack from the Commission for Racial Equality after a Stockport engineer received a £160,000 settlement from his employer over a discrimination claim.

Last week Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council reached the settlement with a senior engineer who had claimed he was the victim of institutional racism.

Justin Idehen who managed 100 staff and had 15 years service worked as a senior highways and bridge maintenance engineer. Allegations he made included being paid less than white colleagues.

Two council investigations rejected claims of institutional racism, prompting him to seek redress at a tribunal.

Stockport denied the claims but said it settled without admission of guilt to save management time and legal costs.

Commenting after the case, a CRE spokesman said: 'The construction sector has quite a number of problems in race equality terms and causes us concern. It goes right across all professions and disciplines, and all levels of the industry.

'Employment in construction runs along racial lines with few management from ethnic minorities and under-representation in professions. Discrimination will continue to exist in an industry where employers don't do anything to eliminate it through organised, systematic equal opportunities programmes.'

The ICE has targeted racial discrimination under the ICEfloe equal opportunities programme.

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