BME workers face long-term COVID impacts

TUC finds higher percentage of unemployed BME workers; unemployment gap at widest since 2008 

LONDON, ENGLAND — Black and minority ethnic (BME) workers in the United Kingdom are facing long-term impacts as a result of COVID-19, with several non-governmental organizations (NGO) calling on the government to do more to address this matter.

Research has shown that during the pandemic, BME workers were more likely than their white counterparts to lose their jobs.

This has resulted in more BME residents facing poverty, widening a racial wealth gap and driving a wedge into efforts to achieve racial equity.

Compounded with this issue is the fact that BME families were also more impacted by education losses, which will in turn affect the next generation in their attempts to attain gainful employment in high-earning careers.


Disproportionately affected

Ahead of a COVID-19 inquiry being conducted by the UK government, where the UK’s preparedness and response to the pandemic will be examined, a coalition of NGOs has written a letter to the inquiry’s chair concerning the specific plight of BME workers.

BME workers face long-term covid impacts

A letter penned by a coalition of Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups is calling on the government to address the unique impact COVID-19 has had on the BME workforce.

The letter was signed by Jabeer Butt OBE, CEO of Race Equality Foundation, and co-signed by several other organisations representing diverse minority groups.

It read, “It is important to note that Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers in other sectors were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“In many cases, employers failed to provide the necessary protections to address the workplace risks faced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees.”

The organisations emphasized, “We know that the effects of COVID-19 on race equality are likely to be long-term.

“For example, the evidence indicates the disruption of education has been greater for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students, and that families from these communities were more likely to have fallen into poverty as a result of the pandemic.”

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    Slower employment recovery for BME workers

    BME workers face long-term impact of covid

    A study by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) found the unemployment gap between Black and minority ethnic (BME) employees and their white counterparts is at the largest since 2008.

    Likewise, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has recently published the results of its own study, with the findings indicating the unemployment rate for BME workers is actually more than twice that of white workers.

    It noted an unemployment rate of 7.7 per cent for BME workers, as compared to 3.5 per cent for white workers.

    “Analysis of annual averages of the unemployment gap over the last 20 years shows it is now the widest it has been since 2008,” the TUC said.

    “This shows the employment rate for BME workers is recovering at a slower rate than that of white workers.”

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