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BME workers far more likely to be trapped in insecure work, TUC analysis reveals

  • Black and minority ethnic (BME) employees are facing a triple hit of lower pay, temporary work and too few hours
  • Labour market is discriminating against BME workers, says TUC

Black and minority ethnic workers are far more likely to be trapped in temporary and insecure work, according to new TUC analysis published today (Friday) at the start of its annual Black Workers Conference.

The analysis shows how BME workers are faring worse than white workers in the jobs market.

Stuck in temporary and insecure work

There are 3.9 million BME working people in the UK. They are:

  • More than twice as likely to be stuck on agency contracts than white workers
  • Much more likely to be on zero-hours contracts – 1 in 24 BME workers are on zero-hours contracts, compared to 1 in 42 white workers
  • 1 in 13 BME workers (264,000) are in temporary work, compared to 1 in 19 white workers

Underemployment and low pay

The analysis shows that many BME workers are experiencing the double hit of underemployment and low pay.

BME working people are twice as likely to report not having enough hours to make ends meet.

And many are working in temporary and zero-hours jobs where pay is typically a third less an hour than for those on permanent contracts.

This financial insecurity places many BME workers and their families under significant financial stress and is a result of widespread institutional racism in the labour market, says the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Far too many BME workers are stuck in low-paid, insecure and temporary work.

“This has a huge impact on their living standards and life chances.

“This problem isn’t simply going to disappear over time. We need a co-ordinated approach led by government to confront inequality and racism in the labour market – and wider society.”

Recommendations

The TUC is calling on the government to:

  • Legislate to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for all employers with more than 50 employees, including a duty to produce an action plan
  • Ban ZHCs and offer all workers guaranteed hours
  • Reform the rules so that all workers benefit from the same minimum employment rights, including statutory redundancy pay, protection from unfair dismissal and family friendly rights

And the TUC is calling on employers to:

  • Collect and publish data on BME pay, recruitment, promotion and dismissal, ahead of government action on mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting
  • Set targets for improving race equality within their organisations
  • Measure and report progress against those targets annually
  • Work with trade unions to establish targets and develop positive action measures to address racial inequalities within the workforce
  • Make it clear they have zero tolerance of racism and support all staff who raise concerns about racism

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