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Shortage of ethnic workers at Belfast City Council

Belfast City Council has only half as many employees from a black, minority or ethnic (BME) background as it should have, it has been claimed.

Alliance councillor Laura McNamee said that just 1.8% of the council's employees identified themselves as being from a black, minority or ethnic background.

But she said that the proportion of people in Belfast as a whole from minorities was more than double this.

The last census revealed that 3.6% of Belfast's population in 2011 were from minority ethnic groups.

Ms McNamee last night proposed to the council that it should establish a BME steering group to encourage and promote ethnic representation within the council's workforce and address the issue of under-representation in public life.

SDLP councillor Colin Keenan also urged the council to consider funding a conference on challenging racism that would bring a number of international speakers to Belfast.

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