Shame-inducing research conducted by the Trades Union Congress has revealed that black and minority ethnic (BAME) workers are a third more likely than their white counterparts not to have enough paid work that makes full use of their skills and abilities. The report quite rightly laments that this situation is a ‘waste of talent’, and has urged employers and ministers alike to address endemic workplace discrimination in a more satisfactory manner.
During the first half of 2016, 15.3% of BAME workers were deemed officially under-employed compared to 11.5% of white workers; the report also says more than 110,000 BAME workers could be liberated from under-employment if there was no such disparity.
This remarkable analysis came shortly after the government’s own Equality and Human Rights Commission noted that life chances for BAME people have actually worsened during the last five years in areas including health, education, jobs and pay. Black workers with degrees earn on average 23% less than white colleagues and the unemployment rate among BAME workers is twice as high as white people at 13%.
Ethnic minorities are also far more likely to be victims of crime and face harsher treatment from the criminal justice system, where they are three times more likely to be prosecuted. Ideological cuts to legal aid budgets are especially depriving poor BAME people of proper representation by qualified advocates.
Separate analysis undertaken by the TUC back in April found that BAME workers with degrees are now two-and-a-half times more likely to be unemployed than white colleagues; perhaps even more horrific, BAME workers with A-level equivalents including trade apprenticeships were 3.2 times more likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts.
Going back even further to February, the TUC pointed out that a black graduate is paid almost a quarter less than his white peers, amounting to just £4.33 an hour on average. The only beneficiaries of such rancid exploitation are avaricious capitalist fatcats who understand that as long as workers are consistently divided by artificial boundaries, they can continuously undermine our collective workplace rights. But if we unite and organise for decent jobs and decent wages for everyone, our collective potential will be limitless.
By Daniel Pitt @infamyreborn92