Black And Minority Ethnic Workers Were At Greater Risk During Covid Pandemic
The TUC has warned that black and minority ethnic (BME) workers have been asked to “shoulder more risk” during the pandemic, often working in insecure jobs with fewer rights at work.
The warning comes as TUC analysis shows that BME people are far more likely to be in precarious work and in jobs with higher coronavirus mortality rates than white people, such as security guards, carers, nurses and drivers.
Put at higher risk
TUC analysis of official figures shows that 1 in 6 (16%) BME workers are employed on insecure terms and conditions, compared to 1 in 10 (10%) white workers.
The TUC says this has put BME staff at higher risk of Covid-19 exposure and job loss. The union federation argues that insecure contracts make it harder for workers to:
Additional analysis shows that BME workers have been over-represented in jobs with higher Covid-19 death rates:
Antiracism Task Force
The findings are published today (Tuesday) as the TUC launches a new antiracism task force.
A group of senior leaders from across the trade union movement and civil society will investigate the systemic discrimination BME workers face.
The group will be engaging with BME workers about the everyday racism they experience, particularly at work, and set out that action needed to address structural discrimination and disadvantage.
The task force, led by NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach, will then develop an action plan for change across UK workplaces – and within unions themselves.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Coronavirus has exposed the huge inequalities BME women and men face at work – with many forced to shoulder greater risk during this crisis.
BME workers are hugely overrepresented in undervalued, low-paid and casualised jobs, with fewer rights and no sick pay. During the pandemic many BME people have paid for these poor working conditions with their lives.
This crisis has to be a turning point. The government must challenge the systemic racism and inequality that holds BME people back at work, and beyond."
She concluded by saying:
“Unions have a part to play. Our new antiracism task force will listen to BME people and take action to dismantle the barriers they face at work, in wider society – and in trade unions themselves.”
Chair of the TUC’s antiracism task force and NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said:
“Regrettably, we continue to see evidence of the searing and devastating impact of racism and racial inequality on the lives of Black workers across all sectors of the labour market and in the wider economy.
There is no excuse for systems and practices which hold back talent or put workers at greater risk of illness or injury because of the colour of their skin. The anti-racism task force will be unapologetic in calling out racial injustice and institutional racism wherever it exists.
The task force will be taking forward a wide-ranging programme of action to tackle racial discrimination and ensure fairness and decent treatment at work.”
The TUC is calling on government to address labour market inequalities affecting BME people by: