THE Trades Union Congress (TUC) has urged the government to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting soon as a first step to confront ‘inequality and racism’ in the labour market.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady pointed out that Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the ‘huge inequalities’ black and minority ethnic (BME) people face at work.
While commenting on the publication of ethnicity pay gap figures by the Office for National Statistics on Monday(12), she added that ‘structural and individual racism’ still plays a role in determining pay and life chances.
The figures show that the median hourly pay for white people was £12.40 per hour compared with £12.11 for those from a BME background – a pay gap of 2.3 per cent, with significant regional variations, including 23.8 per cent in London.
“BME men and women are overrepresented in undervalued, low-paid and casual jobs, with fewer rights and no sick pay. During the pandemic many of them have paid for these poor working conditions with their lives,” said O’Grady.
The TUC, which strives to make the working world a better place for everyone, has a membership of more than 5.5 million workers.
A TUC analysis in September revealed that BME people are far more likely to be in precarious work and jobs with higher coronavirus mortality rates than white people, such as security guards, carers, nurses and drivers.
Besides, a TUC survey exposed daily experiences of racism for BME workers during the pandemic.
An antiracism task force led by NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach with senior leaders from across the trade union movement and civil society will investigate the systemic discrimination BME workers face at work.
It will then develop an action plan for change across UK workplaces, and within unions themselves, a statement from TUC said.