TUC's analysis has revealed the number of Black and ethnic minority (BME) workers in insecure employment doubled from 2011 to 2022, reaching 836,340. BME men are almost twice as likely to be in insecure work as white men, and BME women are more likely to experience insecure employment compared to white women.
Insecure work is characterized by low pay, variable hours, and limited worker rights.
This surge in BME workers in insecure jobs accounts for most of the overall increase in insecure work over the past decade. Although BME workers make up only 14% of the workforce, they represent two-thirds of the growth in insecure employment. Insecure work is marked by low pay and fewer rights, leading to uncertain working hours and potential job loss without notice.
The TUC highlights that the UK is witnessing a rise in insecure jobs across all regions. There are currently 3.9 million people in insecure employment, with London and the Southwest having the highest proportions of such workers. Industries like elementary occupations, caring, leisure services, and machine operatives have the highest concentration of insecure work.
The TUC argues that the disproportionate number of BME workers in insecure jobs highlights systemic racism in the labour market. Between 2011 and 2022, the proportion of BME workers in insecure work increased significantly from 12.2% to 17.8%, while the proportion for white workers remained relatively stable. BME men and women are more likely than their white counterparts to experience insecure work.
The TUC attributes the increase in BME insecure employment to factors like the gig economy. The union notes a rise in low-paid self-employment among BME men, particularly in delivery and driving roles. This overrepresentation of BME workers in insecure work underscores structural racism, where BME workers face discrimination throughout the employment process, limited training, unfair discipline, and unequal opportunities. To combat this, the TUC advocates for measures like fair pay agreements, ending bogus self-employment, and implementing a comprehensive ethnicity monitoring system to tackle systemic racism and improve labour conditions.