Black and minority ethnic workers have had to self-isolate at a much higher rate than white workers, according to new Trades Union Congress research.
The poll, carried out by Britain Thinks, shows that 35% of BME workers have self-isolated during the pandemic compared to 24% of white workers.
The TUC believes the research shows that BME workers are being put at greater risk of coronavirus exposure than their white colleagues.
While almost half of white workers reported that their employer had done a Covid-Secure risk assessment for their workplace, this falls to 36% for BME workers. This is despite the risk assessment being a legal requirement.
Working during the pandemic continues to have a negative impact on the levels of stress and anxiety of 38% of BME staff.
TUC analysis has shown that BME people are far more likely to be in precarious work and in jobs with higher coronavirus mortality rates than white workers, such as security guards, carers, nurses and drivers.
32% of BME workers report having experienced three or more forms of unfair treatment compared to a quarter of white workers.
In addition, 23% of BME workers report experiencing abuse from other members of their workplace, compared to 16% of white workers.
The findings by the research comes as the TUC’s new anti-racism task force meets for the first time.
The task force will lead the trade union movement’s renewed campaign against racism at work. It will engage with Black workers across the UK to hear about their experiences. And it will produce recommendations on tackling structural racism in the UK, in workplaces and in unions themselves.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“This government has been careless of the impact of coronavirus on BME lives.
“BME workers are more likely to be exposed to the virus, less likely to work in Covid-Secure workplaces, and therefore more likely to be plunged into hardship if they have to self-isolate.
“BME workers – and all workers – should be entitled to decent sick pay when they have to self-isolate, and to safe workplaces.
“The government should act to rid the UK of the low wage insecure jobs that keep many BME workers in poverty and put them at higher risk from the virus. And it should set out a real commitment to ending systemic racism and discrimination.”