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Black British Women Face Job Insecurity and Racism at Work

By Shola Adenekan


Thursday, October 30, 2020.

A new study has highlighted the hostile atmosphere confronting many Black British women at their place of work.

The report by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) shows that Black women, as well as women from other minority ethnic groups (BME), are often found in insecure work with little control over the hours they work, and this creates huge financial uncertainty, anxiety and stress for them. 

The study points out that Black women are  twice likely as white workers to be employed in insecure jobs.

The unpredictability of their work situation coupled with racism, make it increasingly difficult for them to plan financially, to access credit, and to secure mortgages or tenancy agreements. 

The analysis suggests that constantly varying working hours also has an impact on family life, making it difficult for Black British women to organise childcare, the care of older relatives and a social life. 

The TUC says that during the pandemic BME staff have been at higher risk of Covid-19 exposure and job loss.

The union body argues that insecure contracts make it harder for workers to assert their rights for a safe workplace, to shield if they – or someone they live with – has a health condition that puts them at higher risk, or to take time off for childcare responsibilities if schools or childcare providers close.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said that his union believes that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity at work and to be paid a fair wage. 

“But coronavirus has exposed huge inequalities in our labour market, she said, “being trapped in insecure work has exposed BME women to extra risk during this crisis, with many losing their lives. That is not right.”

Earlier this year an ICM survey for the TUC revealed the daily experiences of racism and sexism for Black workers.

Almost half of women of African descent and other minority ethnic backgrounds told the TUC they had been singled out for harder or less popular tasks at work, around one third, reported being unfairly passed over or being denied a promotion at work, and a third said they had experienced verbal abuse at work.

Ms O’Grady said: “Ministers must step up and take bold action to tackle structural racism and sexism in our economy – and in wider society.”


Black British Women Face Job Insecurity and Racism at Work

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