‘Zero-hour contracts trap BAME workers with worst pay, worst condition’
Representational image by iStock of Deliveroo worker (zero-hour contract employment)
ZERO-HOURS contracts are trapping people from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in low pay and insecure work- a recent joint report by Trades Union Congress and the equality organisation Race on the Agenda (Rota) said- adding that the arrangement is “the most egregious example of one-sided flexibility at work”.
The report has called on the government to ban zero-hours contracts and end the “scourge” of insecure work, adding that women of colour are almost twice as likely to be on zero-hours contracts as white men and almost one and a half times more likely than white women.
Revealing significant disparities in zero-hour contracts along the lines of gender and race, the report states that about 40 per cent of BAME workers in such contracts said they faced the threat of losing their shifts if they turned down work, compared with only 25 per cent of white workers who feel the same.
About one in six zero-hours contract workers are BAME, though minority ethnic workers make up only one in nine workers overall, the report found, with 2.5 per cent of white men in the last three months of 2020 as compared with 4.1 per cent of BAME men. The highest proportions were found among BAME women, at 4.5 per cent as compared with 3.2 per cent of white women, The Guardian said on Sunday (13) citing the report.
The report warns that in zero-hours contracts, people’s incomes are subject to the whims of managers, which makes it hard for workers to plan their lives, look after their children and keep medical appointments.
TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said, “This is what structural racism at work looks like – BAME workers getting trapped in jobs with the worst pay and the worst conditions, struggling to pay the bills and feed their families.”
“Ministers must challenge the systemic discrimination that holds BAME workers back by banning zero-hours contracts and ending the scourge of insecure work.”
Maurice Mcleod, the CEO of Rota, said: “People from marginalised communities are already most likely to find themselves on these types of contracts, and this is further embedding inequality into our society.”