Voice of the Employee

Members of the black, Asian and ethnic minority communities are a third more likely to be in insecure work than white workers, says the TUC.

One in 20 white employees are on zero-hours or temporary work contracts.

The figure for ethnic minority workers is one in 13, according to the TUC report, which uses figures from the government’s Labour Force Survey.

The report said the recent increase in temporary work was affecting the black community especially.

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 was needed “to confront racism in the labour market”.

The number of black women on temporary contracts had risen 82% in the past five years, the TUC said.

Overall, there was a 58% rise in the number of black workers in non-permanent work. The number of white workers in temporary work rose 8%, according to the report.

Hamja Ahsan, 36, is a second generation British-Asian with a Masters degree in art curation. He quit his job as a gallery assistant a few days ago after being told there was no work that week.

He had been working there for two and a half years, but says his hours had been reduced to between zero and three hours a week.

“I’ve never had any security,” he said. “My income will fluctuate month to month, week to week. It feels like I’ve been in this zone for ever. I feel very worthless.”

Omar Khan, director of the race equality think tank Runnymede, said that the poorest black and Asian women were likely to be most affected.

“This research chimes with previous evidence that BME workers are more likely to be in insecure work.

“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 [black and minority ethnic] BME people in general and BME women in particular,” he said.

The TUC is calling for the next government to ban zero-hours contracts.

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