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Number of UK minority workers in insecure jobs more than doubled over last decade: Union body

This file photo shows a person looking at the adverts in the window of a job agency in London, Britain, on October 13, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

A major British trade union center says the number of black and minority ethnic workers who work in insecure jobs across the country has more than doubled over the last decade.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), which represents 48 unions comprising more than 5.5 million members, offered the information on Monday, calling for government action.

Statistics provided by the body showed that 3.9 million people were working in insecure jobs throughout the country in 2022. A total of 836,340 of them came from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, showing a 132-percent increase compared with 360,200 in 2011.

BME men were almost twice as likely to be in insecure jobs in comparison to their white counterparts (19.6 percent compared with 11.7 percent), with women also affected (15.7 percent to 9.9 percent), the body's data showed.

On the whole, workers from BME backgrounds accounted for two-thirds of the increase, despite comprising only 14 percent of the overall workforce.

The study based its findings on analysis of a study of agency, casual, seasonal and other workers between 2011 and last year, excluding those enlisted on fixed-term contracts.

It characterized insecure jobs as those featuring low pay, variable hours, and fewer rights and protections.

'Structural racism'

"Too many black and ethnic minority workers are trapped in low-paid, insecure jobs with limited rights and protections, and treated like disposable labor," said TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak.

He added, "The massive and disproportionate concentration of BME workers in insecure work -- like in the gig economy -- is structural racism in action."

Nowak called on the government to end the "exploitative" zero-hours contracts, which offer no minimum guarantee of hours.

The TUC separately unveiled the results of a poll showing that over the past five years, around half or 49 percent of BME workers had complained about experiencing at least one form of discrimination at work.

It listed some instances of the discriminatory attitude as facing unfair criticism, being unfairly disciplined at work, being subjected to excessive surveillance or scrutiny, and being denied promotions.

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