BME discrimination in the workplace

Posted on March 27th, 2021

A poll carried out by the TUC has found that 33% of black and minority ethnic (BME) workers claim to have been unfairly turned down for a job, compared with 19% of white workers. The survey of 2,231 workers also found that BME workers are more likely to feel that they have been unfairly overlooked for a pay rise (29%), than white workers (22%).

In addition, BME workers are more likely to be in low-paid, insecure jobs. Previous TUC research revealed that BME women are twice as likely as white workers to be employed in insecure jobs, many of these roles being in essential frontline services, such as health and social care.

TUC analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that the unemployment rates for BME workers has risen at more than twice the speed of the unemployment rate for white workers. The TUC found that the unemployment rate for BME workers has risen to 9.5%, compared with 4.5% for white workers. In addition, 1 in 10 BME women are now unemployed.

The TUC is calling on the government to:

  • Introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting and make employers publish action plans to ensure fair treatment for BME workers in the workplace.
  • Ban zero-hours contracts and strengthen the rights of insecure workers (this will have a positive impact on BME workers).
  • Publish all the equality impact assessments related to its response to COVID-19 and be fully transparent about how it considers BME communities in its policy decisions.

The TUC has launched an anti-racism task force, chaired by NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach, to lead the trade union movement’s renewed campaign against racism at work. Dr Patrick Roach said:

‘Racism is at work and it exists. A national plan is needed urgently to end racial disparities in employment by addressing the root causes head on.’