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Unemployment rate for black workers more than double than their white counterparts, TUC research finds

BLACK workers face shocking levels of systemic racism in employment, new figures have revealed.

New statistics from the TUC, published today ahead of its black workers’ conference, show the unemployment rate for black workers is more than double that of their white counterparts.

The union body warns the gap has widened significantly since the start of the pandemic with the unemployment rate for black workers now at 7.7 per cent, compared to 3.5 per cent for white workers. This is the widest gap since 2008. 

The unemployment rate for BME workers is now 33 per cent higher than it was pre-pandemic. For white workers, it is 2 per cent higher. 

The TUC says the data shows BME workers, who suffered a disproportionate impact through the pandemic by Covid-related job losses, are now significantly more likely to be trapped in unemployment than their white counterparts. 

The union body says employers must work with unions to establish comprehensive ethnic monitoring systems, analyse, evaluate and publish their monitoring data. Employers should also develop action plans with unions that address racial disparities in their workplaces.

The TUC is calling on government and public authorities to introduce race equality requirements into public-sector contracts for the supply of goods and services.

In addition, the TUC wants the Equality and Human Rights Commission to work with unions to use its investigative powers and the newly established Race Equality Fund to address labour market racism. 

Zita Holbourne, of Barac UK, said she wasn’t shocked by the report “because racism is systemic in the UK, we have been impacted harder by 10-plus years of austerity.”

Ms Holbourne added: “We need action to eradicate racism in employment not lip service, denial or tokenism.”

Co-convener of Stand Up to Racism Weyman Bennett said: “Unemployment among black workers reflects racism of employment practices when the government gaslights us and tells us there’s no such thing as institutional racism.

“These figures act as a warning to us to step up the campaign against racism.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “In every industry where jobs were lost to the impact of Covid, BME workers were more likely to have been made unemployed. 

“The pandemic held up a mirror to discrimination in our labour market.

“As we start to build back, the time for excuses and delays is over.

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

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