News
Frances Ball 12 Apr 2019 01:50pm

Ethnic minorities "trapped" in insecure work

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has found that black and minority ethnic (BME) employees are far more likely to face lower pay, and insecure work, than white workers

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has found that black and minority ethnic (BME) employees are far more likely to face lower pay, and insecure work, than white workers

In new analysis published at the start of the TUC’s annual Black Workers Conference, the group outlines how much worse BME workers fare in an unequal labour market.

BME people are more than twice as likely as white workers to be on agency contracts, and so lacking secure work. One in 24 are on zero-hours contracts, compared to one in 42 white workers.

The difficulties of being stuck in insecure work are compounded by the additional problems of underemployment and low pay. Both issues disproportionately affect BME workers.

Pay in temporary and zero-hours jobs is typically around a third less, per hour, than for permanent contract jobs, the TUC says. BME people are more likely to be working in those jobs and are twice as likely to report having too few hours to make ends meet, the report found.

The TUC is unequivocal that this is the result of “widespread institutional racism in the labour market”.

“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,” says Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary.

“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.”

Having reported these findings, the TUC is now calling on the government to legislate for a mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting for all employers with more than 50 employees.

They also call for an end to zero-hours contracts, and for legislation to force companies to offer workers guaranteed hours.

Employers, the TUC says, should collect and publish data on BME pay, among other factors, ahead of government action and set targets to improve race equality within their organisation.

 

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