“You don’t want a black cleaner? We’ll see what we can do”

An investigation by VRT television consumer affairs programme ‘Volt’ has revealed that companies that supply cleaners and other domestic help through the service voucher system are still prepared to adhere to customers wishes to discriminate on the grounds of race.

An undercover reporter with a hidden camera visited several companies that except service voucher payments and asked them not to send a black woman to clean their house. In most cases the report was told that their request “would be taken into account”.

In February, a survey carried out by the Minorities’ Forum found that 60% of companies that accept service vouchers were prepared to adhere to a customer’s request not to be sent a cleaner with foreign roots.

Nothing has changed since and apparently those that wish to discriminate on the grounds of race are still able to do so
Once company told the reporter that "We are not allowed to discriminate, but at the end of the day it is you that decides who you let into your house. We will take this into account”.

The Director of the Minorities’ Forum Wouter Van Bellingen stresses that such discriminatory practices are illegal. “Companies are probably prepared to accept the request to gain custom. It is simply beyond belief”.

Reverse racism also happens with some people asking not to be sent a cleaner with Flemish heritage. Mr Van Bellingen is keen to stress that this too is unacceptable and illegal.