NEWS
27/02/2021 09:47 GMT | Updated 28/02/2021 10:11 GMT

Covid Job Losses Reveal Structural Racism In UK Labour Market, TUC Say

The BAME unemployment rate “shot up” from 5.8% to 9.5% within the space of a year, the TUC report states.

Soaring unemployment figures for Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers holds “up a mirror to structural racism” in the UK labour market, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said.

Unemployment among BAME workers has increased at more than twice the speed of the rate for white workers, a new study suggests, with analysis revealing that one in ten women from minority ethnic backgrounds are now unemployed. 

The BAME unemployment rate “shot up” from 5.8% to 9.5% between the final quarter of 2019 and the same time last year, said the report.

Over the same period, the unemployment rate for white workers rose from 3.4% to 4.5%, according to the study.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), published on Tuesday, shows that the unemployment rate for Black people, at 13.8%, is triple that of white people at 4.5%. 

The new analysis comes as unions, charities and campaigners have signed a joint statement calling on the prime minister to take action to end structural racism and inequality.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the pandemic had “held up a mirror to the structural racism in our labour market and wider society.”

She added: “BME workers have borne the brunt of the economic impact of Covid-19, losing their jobs twice as quickly as white workers.

“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.

“This is evidence of the structural discrimination which has led to a disproportionate BME death rate from coronavirus.

“This crisis has to be a turning point. As we emerge from the pandemic, we can’t allow these inequalities in our workplaces, and our society, to remain.

“Ministers must stop delaying and challenge the systemic racism and inequality that holds back BME people.”

A government spokesman said: “Before the pandemic we had made solid progress on lifting the employment rate to a record high for Black, Asian and ethnic minority people, and we remain committed to these efforts.

“Our Plan for Jobs will play an important part in giving people from all backgrounds a good start on their journey back to employment by increasing work coaches to 27,000 and investing £2 billion on the Kickstart scheme to create opportunities for young people as we build back fairer.”