A recent study by Trades Union Congress (TUC) and equality organisation Race on the Agenda showed that around one in six zero-hours contract workers were BAME*.
It also found 4.5% of BAME women were on zero-hour contracts in the last three months of 2020, compared with just 2.5% of white men. Completing the picture, 4.1% of BAME men and 3.2% of white women were on zero-hours contracts during the same period.
The one-sided flexibility of these contracts leaves BAME women uncertain of how much money they will make week to week and whether they will be able to keep a roof over their heads and their families fed. BAME women are finding themselves trapped in these situations, unable to create a stable life or plan effectively, with over half of BAME insecure workers saying they’ve been allocated a shift with less than a day’s notice.
Further exacerbating this, 40% of BAME workers on insecure contracts feel unable to turn down shifts as they fear being denied further work, compared with 25% of white insecure workers. The TUC general secretary is calling on the government to challenge the systemic discrimination that holds BAME workers back by banning zero-hours contracts.
*This is the language of most data collection systems. For ease of understanding the term BAME is used in this article.