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BLACK AND ASIAN WORKERS SUFFER WAGE DISCRIMINATION - REPORT ON PRIVATE SECTOR

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The Trade Uunion Congress is calling on the government to extend Britain's race relations laws to tackle a serious ...
The Trade Uunion Congress is calling on the government to extend Britain's race relations laws to tackle a serious problem of low pay among some of the most vulnerable sections of the country's black and Asian workers. In a new report released today entitled 'Black and excluded' the TUC reveals that black and Asian male workers earn on average£97 per week less than their white counterparts. The report is launched to coincide with the TUC's Black Workers' Conference, which opens in Southport today.

The report shows alarming differences in pay within black and Asian communities. Pakistani and Bangladeshi men earn£150 per week less than white men, while the negative differential for Caribbean men is£115 and for Africans£116 per week. Black and Asian women fare better, and on average earn£7 per week more than white women - this is largely because they are more likely to be in full time jobs. However, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women remain, like their men, at the bottom earning on average£34 per week less than white women.

The TUC wants all employers in the private and voluntary sectors to be legally required to promote good race relations in their organisations. This is a legal duty at present placed only on the public sector. A further change in the law is called for by the TUC so that trade unions and the Commission for Racial Equality can take collective cases on behalf of individuals or groups of members. The government should also encourage employers to regularly monitor pay data to ensure equality, says the TUC.

Apart from direct racial discrimination, factors affecting pay include black and Asian workers being trapped in low paid jobs and economic sectors such as textiles; language problems, despite high educational achievement; and being concentrated in deprived areas of the country with a dependence on public transport.

John Monks TUC general secretary, said: 'New laws in the public sector will make a difference - these must now be extended to end the unfairness in pay for black and Asian workers. These workers already suffer twice the levels of unemployment, lack of promotion opportunities and racial harassment. Unions are seeking to work in partnership with employers and the government to end this disadvantage.'

Main findings in Black and underpaid

Despite nearly a generation of race relations legislation in Britain black workers continue to face inequality in pay.

There is a diversity of experience within the black community some groups manage to do better than others.

Average weekly earnings in Britain (£)

White

All black

Caribbean

African

Indian

Pakistani/Bangladeshi

Men

332

235

217

216

327

182

Women

180

187

210

199

194

146

Black and Asian workers who are members of trade unions are far better off than their non-union counterparts. The hourly rate for black workers covered by collective bargaining is three per cent higher than for white workers.

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