More frequently overlooked for pay rises and jobs – ethnic minorities

According to the TUC a third of black and ethnic minority employees claim they have been unfairly turned down for work. They also admit that they feel twice as likely to have been placed in insecure positions than their white colleagues.

The TUC said that Covid-19 had spotlighted ethnic minority workers and the discrimination they faced.

The survey was carried out by 2,231 employees across England and Wales, and showed that compared to 19% of white workers, 33% of black and ethnic minority workers thought their job applications had been unfairly dismissed.

Black and ethnic minority workers (29%) also felt that they had been overlooked for pay increases. Compared to 21% of white employees, 28% of black and ethnic minority employees felt they had been overlooked for promotions.

Of the 2,231 people who took part in the survey, 13% (306 people) came from an ethnic minority background.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary stated that BME employees are ‘far more likely to be turned down for jobs, pay increases and promotions than white workers.’

BME employees are more likely to have insecure jobs, be in low-paid positions and have fewer rights than white employees. They were also at greater risk of exposure to coronavirus.

‘This type of structural racism which exists within the economy and wider society needs to be tackled by ministers once and for all.’

When talking to BME employees the survey showed that they were twice as likely than white workers to admit they were kept on insecure contracts. A further report showed that 12% of ethnic minority women compared to 6% white women are in insecure work.

With male employees 9% of ethnic minority men compared to 5% white men were in insecure contracts.

Compared to one in 13 white employees, one in 7 BME workers admitted that they had been told by their bosses that jobs could be at risk should they refuse to accept worse conditions or reapply for their jobs.

Alongside the NASUWT Teachers’ Union, the TUC has launched an anti-racism task force. Dr Patrick Roach, chairperson stated that there is ‘incontrovertible evidence of racism in the working world.’

Dr Roach said that because of the adverse economic impact of the pandemic, BME employees have been denied opportunities and had been unable to secure rewarding and stable jobs. The situation is not improving, in fact it is getting worse because of the pandemic.

Blighting life chances and holding back communities is due to structural racism, and a national plan is urgently needed so that racial disparities are addressed and the root causes ended.

The TUC has recommended that the government:

  • Insist that employers publish action plans and introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reports.
  • Strengthen the rights of insecure employees and ban all zero-hour contracts.
  • Be completely transparent about how it sees BME communities in the policy making decisions, and further publish all equality assessments related to the response to Covid-19.


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