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

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

  • 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

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 recently 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

Editors note

  • All figures are taken from the ONS Labour Force Survey (LFS) Q4 2018.

BME and white employees in temporary jobs*, Q4 2018

 

Number in temp jobs

Total employees

% employees in temp jobs

White

1,307,797

24,240,789

5.4

BME

263,996

3,376,972

7.8

Total

1,571,793

27,617,761

5.7


*This includes employees who are employed through an employment agency

BME and white workers in employment on ZHCs*, Q4 2018

 

Number on ZHCs

Total in employment**

% workers on ZHCs

White

679,570

28,815,619

2.4

BME

164,060

3,691,880

4.3

Total

843,630

31,827,929

2.6


*LFS respondents are only asked about ZHCs in alternate quarters so the percentages on ZHCs are calculated as an average of the two most recent quarters for which data is available.

** Includes self-employed workers

BME and white employees in agency jobs*, Q4 2018

 

Agency workers

Total employees

% employees in agency work

White

581,001

24,240,789

2.3

BME

172,933

3,376,972

4.9

Total

753,934

27,617,761

2.7


*This includes permanent and temporary agency workers

BME and white workers in part-time work who say they cannot find a full-time job, Q4 2018

 

Number working P-T because they could not find a F-T job

Total in employment

% of workers underemployed

White

738,401

28,549,321

2.6

BME

167,021

3,917,451

4.3

Total

905,422

32,466,772

2.7

  • The survey uses nine different categories of ethnicity: white (87%) mixed/multiple ethnic groups (1.6%), Pakistani (2%), Indian (2.4%), Bangladeshi (0.8 per cent), Chinese (0.4%), any other Asian background (1.2%), Black/African/Caribbean/Black British (2.9%), and other ethnic group (1.6%). For this analysis BME workers are classed as those in all categories other than white.
  • Previous TUC research about workers on temporary and zero-hours contracts being paid less than workers on permanent contracts is available at: www.tuc.org.uk/news/bosses-undercutting-wages-keeping-people-agency-contracts-years-warns-tuc
  • The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living

 

Original article link: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/bme-workers-far-more-likely-be-trapped-insecure-work-tuc-analysis-reveals

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