A new report by the TUC has found that one in 13 black and minority ethnic (BAME) workers are in insecure jobs, compared to one in 20 white employees. 

There are over three million BAME employees in the UK, of whom nearly a quarter of a million are in zero-hours or temporary work. Black workers in particular face insecurity at work, and are more than twice as likely as white workers to be in temporary and zero-hours work. 

Not only are these workers more likely to be in temporary jobs, they have also experienced the largest increase in the number of people in temporary jobs between 2011 and 2016 when the number of black workers on temporary contracts went up by 58%. This was over seven times the increase for white workers (8%). Black women have been the worst affected, with 82% more now in temporary jobs than in 2011, compared to a 37% increase for black men. 

In addition, compared to 31% of the total temporary workforce, 42% of black workers are in temporary work because they cannot find a permanent job. The proportion of the black community employed on zero hour contracts is 5%, which means that one in 20 are on a zero hours contracts. By comparison, the national average is around one in 36. 

Overall, the report found that employment rates for white people are significantly higher than those from a minority ethnic group (76.1% compared to 64.2%), a disparity which the TUC believes is mainly due to race discrimination. 

It is therefore calling on the next government to: 

  • Ban mandatory zero-hours contracts, so that guaranteed hours are offered to all workers
  • Give everyone the same rights as an employee, unless the employer can show that they are genuinely self-employed
  • Give all workers a right to a written statement of terms, conditions and working hours, from day one
  • End the pay penalty for agency workers to ensure that they get the going rate for the job
  • Require employers to publish ethnic monitoring reports on recruitment, pay, and employment type
  • Abolish employment tribunal fees
  • Allow trade unions access to all workplaces to help improve pay and conditions. 

Jo Seery of Thompsons Solicitors commented, “This report reveals that the growth in insecure employment discriminates against BAME workers. The TUC show that an increasing number of BAME workers are denied basic employment rights such as the right to claim unfair dismissal. 

“The nature of zero hours contracts and low paid self-employment also means that they lose out on benefits such as sick pay, maternity and paternity pay. Martin Taylors review into employment practices in the modern economy should redress the inequalities in bargaining power of these most vulnerable groups of workers.” 

To read the report in full, go to: https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Insecure%20work%20and%20ethnicity_0.pdf