BAME workers more likely to be in insecure work

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A TUC report found the number of black workers on temporary contracts jumped between 2011 and 2016

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers are much more likely to be in insecure jobs such as those with zero-hours contracts, according to the TUC.

One in 20 white employees are on zero-hours or temporary work contracts. But the figure for ethnic minority workers is one in 13, according to the TUC report. It used figures from the government's Labour Force Survey and additionally surveyed 3.1 million BAME employees in the UK.

The report also found that between 2011 and 2016 the number of black workers on temporary contracts jumped 58% – more than seven times the 8% increase for white workers. The number of black women on temporary contracts rose by 82% in that time, compared with a 37% increase for black men.

The TUC is calling on the next government to ban mandatory zero-hours contracts so that guaranteed hours are offered to all workers. The call chimes with Labour’s pledge to ban all zero-hours contracts and unpaid internships.

The trade union group is also pushing for rules that force employers to publish ethnicity monitoring reports on recruitment, pay and employment type.

This chimes with a Conservative manifesto pledge extending the government’s pay gap reporting requirements so that businesses larger than a certain size must give breakdowns of their pay by ethnicity, age and level of seniority.

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."

She said a national strategy is needed "to confront racism in the labour market".

Omar Khan, director of the race equality think tank Runnymede Trust, confirmed to the BBC that black and Asian women are particularly 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," he said.

The TUC report comes as RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor finalises his government-commissioned inquiry into controversial modern working practices. The review is due to be published this month, shortly after the general election result.

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