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Race bias firm ordered to pay staff pounds 229,000

A TEXTILE firm was ordered to pay pounds 229,000 yesterday after being found guilty of racial discrimination against 82 of its Asian workers.

John Haggas, worsted spinners of Ingrow, near Keighley, West Yorkshire, tried to introduce new working practices last year.

An industrial tribunal was told that day workers - all white - refused to take on extra duties but were not disciplined. But when the night shift - all Asian men - also refused they were threatened with the sack.

Anthony Morris, chairman of the Leeds tribunal, said the company was guilty of direct discrimination.

He said Asian workers were not paid overtime, unlike their white colleagues, received four days a year less holiday and had non-existent promotion chances. 'There is plenty of evidence of direct racial discrimination,' he added.

The tribunal awarded pounds 1,000 each for injury to feelings to 33 workers not affected by the change in working practices but who received a threatening letter from Brian Haggas, the company chief, warning that if their colleagues did not conform the entire nightshift would be closed with the loss of all jobs.

Some pounds 4,000 was awarded to each of the remaining 49 workers who were given verbal warnings, written warnings and final warnings. The firm, which is considering an appeal, had denied racial discrimination.