Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / Europe

Ethnic minority workers worst hit

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-01-21 17:43
Share - WeChat

Analysis by the United Kingdom's largest labor organization, the Trades Union Congress, or TUC, suggests black and minority ethnic, or BME, workers have been hit hardest by job losses during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The federation's study of official data found that one in 12 BME workers are now unemployed, compared to just one in 22 of white workers.

Research showed the employment rate for people from BME backgrounds has dropped 5.3 percent over the last year, which is 26 times the fall in the rate for those from white backgrounds, ITV News reported.

Minority workers are more likely to work in hard-hit industries like hotels and food services, the TUC study noted, and that within those sectors, "BME workers have been more likely to lose their jobs than their white colleagues".

According to data from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the overall unemployment rate in the UK is expected to peak at about 7.5 percent sometime between April and June, London's Evening Standard noted.

But figures between July-September 2020 showed 8.5 percent of BME people were out of work, compared to 7 percent a year earlier. The Guardian noted that in total, more than 800,000 workers have been made redundant during the pandemic.

The TUC called on the government to urgently address structural racism in the workplace. "The time for excuses and delays is over," said TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady, quoted across multiple British news outlets. "This pandemic has held up a mirror to discrimination in our labour market.

"In every industry where jobs have gone, BME people have been more likely to be made unemployed."

The analysis revealed that, even when broken down by sectors, BME workers have suffered more than their white counterparts.

"In some sectors like hospitality, retail and the arts, BME employment has literally plummeted," said O'Grady. "And when BME workers have held on to their jobs, we know that they are more likely to be working in low-paid, insecure jobs that put them at greater risk from the virus."

She added: "Ministers must challenge the systemic racism and inequality that holds back BME people at work."

Quoted in the Standard, Patrick Roach, chair of the TUC's anti-racism taskforce, said: "We have seen evidence of widening inequality during the pandemic – both because of the virus and because of the impact of the government's emergency measures.

"During previous economic downturns, BME workers have been 'first out and last in'.

"The government needs to address the causes and effects of structural racism and set out a national recovery plan that works for everyone."

The government is due to announce how it will deal with job losses related to the pandemic later this week. It is expected to unveil plans for the expansion of student loans, meaning adults can use them to fund technical courses as well as undergraduate degrees.

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349