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Commenting on a report published today (Wednesday) by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

Commenting on a report published today (Wednesday) by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:  

“Institutional and structural racism exists in the UK, in both the labour market and wider society.  

“Black and Minority Ethnic workers are far more likely than White workers to be in low-paid, insecure jobs – such as temporary and agency jobs or zero hours contracts. And Black and Minority Ethnic workers have been far more likely to be exposed to Covid infection and far more likely to die – because they are far more likely to be in frontline roles. 

“This is institutional racism. And it traps too many Black and Minority Ethnic workers in poverty, insecurity and low pay.  

“We hoped that the Commission would recommend action to stamp out insecure work and make employers act to close their ethnicity pay gaps. 

“Instead, the Commission has chosen to deny the experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic workers and be complacent about the UK’s progress towards being an anti-racist society.  

“The TUC calls on politicians of all parties to stand with Black and Minority Ethnic workers and commit to ending institutional racism in the UK labour market and society – starting with bringing in mandatory ethnicity pay gap action plans and banning zero hours contracts.”    

Editors note

- The TUC has launched an anti-racism task force, chaired by NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach, to tackle the structural racism with the labour market – and wider society. The task force will lead the trade union movement’s renewed campaign against racism at work. It will engage with Black workers across the UK to hear about their experiences. And it will produce recommendations on tackling structural racism in the UK, in workplaces and in unions themselves. To read Dr Patrick Roach’s blog about the purpose and aims of the TUC’s anti-racism task force please visit:  

- Evidence of institutional racism in the UK labour market  

  • 1 in 6 (16%) BME workers are employed on insecure terms and conditions, compared to 1 in 10 (10%) white workers. REF 

  • Male BME workers 57% more likely to be employed in jobs with a higher male mortality rate than white male workers. And female BME workers 48% more likely than female white workers to be employed in an occupation with a higher female mortality rate.  

  • Previous TUC analysis revealed that BME people are far more likely to be in jobs with higher coronavirus mortality rates than white people, such as security guards, carers, nurses and drivers: 

  • In England, based on a statistical model adjusting for age and excluding care home residents, the rate of death among Black African males was 3.8 times higher than those of White background, while for Black African females the rate was 2.9 times higher; all ethnic groups other than Chinese females were at higher risk of COVID-19 mortality than the White ethnic population (ONS) 

  • Additional TUC analysis revealed that BME unemployment is rising twice as fast as white workers during pandemic:  

For more information on the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities please visit:  

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living. 


TUC press office   
020 7467 1248  

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