New research from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has found that the number of BME workers on temporary contracts increased by 58% from 2011-2016, more than seven times the 8% increase for white workers. This means that one in thirteen BME workers are on an insecure temporary contract, compared with one in twenty white workers. The increase in BME employees on temporary contracts was felt above all by black women, the number of whom on temporary contracts grew by 82% over the five year period, compared with a 37% increase for black men.
The TUC report used figures from the government's Labour Force Survey and additionally surveyed 3.1 million BAME employees in the UK. The TUC is calling on the next government to veto obligatory zero-hours contracts so that definite hours are offered to all workers. The call is in accord with the Labour Party’s pledge to veto all zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships.
The trade union group is also urging for rules that force employers to publish ethnicity monitoring reports on recruitment, pay and employment type. This is in accord with the Conservative Party’s manifesto pledge to extend the government’s pay gap reporting requirements meaning businesses greater than a certain size are obliged to give breakdowns of their pay by age, ethnicity and level of seniority.
The director of the race equality think tank Runnymede Trust, Omar Khan, explained to the BBC that black and Asian women are worst affected:
"In addition to tighter regulation on insecure contracts and clamping down on discrimination, the next government should ensure that its policies – notably including the Budget – reduce rather than increase income inequalities for BME people in general and BME women in particular.”
TUC general secretary, Frances O'Grady, said:
"Black, Asian and ethnic minority workers are being forced into low-paid, insecure work. And it's getting worse” and that a national strategy is necessary “to confront racism in the labour market.”
This TUC report coincides with RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor finalising his government-commissioned inquiry into controversial modern working practices. The review is expected to be published this month, soon after the general election result.
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