AN analysis by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) published on Wednesday(20) revealed that one in 12 black and minority ethnic (BME) workers now unemployed in the UK, compared to one in 22 white counterparts.
The BME employment has plummeted by 5.3 per cent over the last year, compared to drop of 0.2 per cent for white workers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the study, hospitality and retail sectors have witnessed large falls in the number of BME workers.
The TUC has urged the government to act now and carry out a review into racism at work in the UK. It also demanded to introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting and make employers publish action plans to ensure fair treatment for BME workers in the workplace.
The union body also asked the government to ban zero-hours contracts, strengthen the rights of insecure workers and to publish all the equality impact assessments related to its response to Covid-19.
The analysis also revealed that the number of BME men working in manufacturing has fallen by a quarter (23 per cent) and the number of BME women working in arts and entertainment has nose-dived by over two-fifths (44 per cent).
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “BME workers have borne the brunt of the economic impact of this pandemic. In every industry where jobs have gone, BME people have been more likely to be made unemployed. In some sectors like hospitality, retail and the arts, BME employment has literally plummeted.
“And when BME workers have held on to their jobs, we know that they are more likely to be working in low-paid, insecure jobs that put them at greater risk from the virus. This pandemic has held up a mirror to discrimination in our labour market.”
Chair of the TUC’s new anti-racism task force and NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “We have seen evidence of widening inequality during the pandemic – both because of the virus and because of the impact of the government’s emergency measures. During previous economic downturns, BME workers have been ‘first-out and last-in’. The government needs to address the causes and effects of structural racism and set out a national recovery plan that works for everyone.”
According to TUC, without additional investment in jobs and social security in the next budget many BME workers’ job prospects could be scarred in the long term.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that the unemployment rate for all workers will peak at 7.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2021.