BME women ‘twice as likely to be on zero-hours contracts as white men’

Black and minority ethnic women are twice as likely to be on zero-hours contracts as white men, research suggests.

The TUC said its analysis of official data showed that BME workers, particularly women, were more likely to be employed on some of the worst contracts.

The union organisation said the study showed that 5.9% of BME women in work are on zero-hours contracts compared with 2.7% of white men.

BME workers were said to be “significantly overrepresented” on zero-hours contracts compared with white workers.

The TUC said its report, published ahead of its Black Workers Conference on Saturday, showed that the disproportionate number of BME workers on zero-hours contracts is a “prime example” of structural racism in action.

BME workers – particularly women – are more likely to be on the “some of the worst contracts, with the worst pay and conditions”, according to the union body.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “Zero-hours contracts are a nightmare for workers and a dream for bad bosses.

“They hand almost total control over hours and earning power to managers, making it nearly impossible for workers to plan their budgets and their wider lives.

“These are some of the worst contracts around, and BME women are twice as likely to be on these contracts as white men.

“That’s a prime example of structural racism in action.

“It’s time to end the scourge of insecure work once and for all, starting with a ban on zero-hours contracts, like Labour is proposing in its New Deal for Working People.

“That’s how you start to tackle the structural racism that is holding BME workers back.”

A Department for Business and Trade spokesperson said: “Zero-hour contracts offer flexibility for people who may need to balance work around personal commitments whilst helping employers who have less demand for permanent staff.

“At the beginning of this month, the Government increased the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 and over, putting more money in the pockets of almost three million workers.”