Watchdog warns Ford it may face inquiry into racism

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The Independent Online

The Commission for Racial Equality has put on hold a formal investigation into race relations at the Ford car manufacturing plant in Dagenham, Essex, after Ford agreed to a "wide-ranging review" of its race equality practices.

The Commission for Racial Equality has put on hold a formal investigation into race relations at the Ford car manufacturing plant in Dagenham, Essex, after Ford agreed to a "wide-ranging review" of its race equality practices.

The commission said that, following a meeting with Nick Scheele, chairman of Ford Europe, it had put on hold plans for the investigation. It said a number of changes, including a fast-track procedure for dealing with complaints of discrimination from workers, would have to be made. A preliminary review was agreed by 13 October and a complete review by April next year.

The commission's involvement was triggered by a complaint of racial harassment almost a year ago by a production worker at Dagenham.

The commission's head of legal policy, Barbara Cohen, said the announcement was "not good news" for the company. The commission was not convinced that pledges given by Ford after the Dagenham racial harassment case last year had been acted on, she added.

Mr Scheele said he welcomed the "positive and constructive" approach of the commission and stressed his own personal "abhorrence" of any unfair discrimination.

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