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    TUC calls for action on racism in jobs market

    Racism in the labour market has worsened during the 1990s rather than declined, according to a report published today by the Trades Union Congress. 

    A TUC conference this morning will call on the government to take urgent action to reverse this trend. 

    At 13 per cent , official unemployment is 2 per cent higher among black and Asian workers than at the beginning of the decade while for their white counterparts unemployment has again fallen to its 1990 low point of 6 per cent. 

    The survey says three-quarters of black and Asian workers without a job live in three conurbations – London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester. In the two areas black and Asian unemployment is running close to 20 per cent. 

    The employment rate of black people has worsened over the 1990s and particularly in the past 12 twelve months despite the substantial drop in unemployment over the past year and net increase in new jobs. While the white employment rate fell by 1 percentage point in the decade to 75 per cent, the black employment rate dropped by 5 percentage points to 56 per cent over the same period, meaning that the black employment gap with white people has widened from 15 to 19 percentage points during the 1990s. 

    John Monks, the TUC’s general secretary, said: “This shows a frightening level of racism in Britain’s workplaces…Workers, employers and the government must work in partnership to tackle the growing disadvantages that black and Asian workers are facing.”

    The study shows that black workers have benefited disproportionately from the national minimum wage although their average lags far behind that of white employees. The TUC proposes a number of policies to deal with the problem of black and Asian unemployment. It calls for:

    Mandatory ethnic monitoring by employers. 

    Trade union action with employers to create ethnic monitoring schemes for the recruitment, retention and promotion of black and ethnic minority workers. 

    Government action to reduce racial discrimination as a high priority, especially  in those that it has defined as areas of social exclusion. 

    Ensuring the government’s welfare to work programme for the long-term jobless maximizes job creation for black people. 

    Extra public investment targeted on social exclusion areas. 

    “Financial Times”