UK: Number of Black Workers in Temporary Jobs Rises to 8% as ‘Gig Economy’ Increases Racial Disparity in Labor Market

An increasing share of black workers in Britain is in temporary jobs, according to research that will fuel the debate on insecurity and racial disparities in the labour market.

With employment rates at record highs, policymakers are turning their attention from the quantity of jobs to their quality.

Both the Conservatives and Labour have promised to boost workers’ rights if they win next week’s election. They have also pledged to tackle racial and gender imbalances in the workforce.

Analysis of official data by the TUC, the trade union umbrella organisation, shows the proportion of black workers in temporary jobs increased from 6.4 to 7.8 per cent between 2011 and 2016. Over the same period, the proportion of white workers on these contracts held steady at 2.9 per cent.

Overall, the TUC said non-white workers were about a third more likely than white workers to be on temporary or zero-hours contracts.

“Black, Asian and ethnic minority workers are being forced into low-paid, insecure work — and it’s getting worse,” said Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC.

Trade unions and employers typically disagree over jobs like these. Unions say they leave workers in a precarious position, while employers say they provide people with valuable flexibility.

But there appears to be an emerging consensus between employers, unions and government on the need for some sort of action to improve the quality of work.

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Financial Times