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BAME workers jobless, international students starving!

As many countries around the globe have plunged into deep recessions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic ( BAME) workers have

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BAME Workers
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As many countries around the globe have plunged into deep recessions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic ( BAME) workers have borne the brunt of the pandemic facing a high fatality rate and now been hard hit by job losses too. 

They have been affected to an extent that they now find it difficult to even feed themselves. The pandemic is bringing the harsh realities of longstanding racial inequalities in health, the labour market and education into sharp focus.  

According to Trades Union Congress (TUC) reports, 8.5% of BAME workers were unemployed by the end of 2020 ,  while for the white workers it was only about 4.5%. Major reason for this difference is because the BAME workers are more likely to be engaged in full-time and part-time jobs that were hard hit by the pandemic like hotel and food catering services. 

The employment rate for BAME workers plunged by a whopping amount of 5.3% while for the white workers, the rate was only about 0.2% decrease. Under these circumstances, TUC urges the government to step forward and assist the BAME workers who are going through severe financial crisis to meet the day to day ends. 

“I have my mortgage and bills to pay and my family to support.  One cannot rely on food vouchers and benefits. They are not enough to sustain. But I need to survive. My wife can’t go out and work due to the languages barriers and with the added responsibility of home schooling our children. So we are just making do with white we can at present “ says Suresh Seth( name changed upon request) , a customer relations officer at one of the biggest retailers in London who was put on leave due to the pandemic. However later he was notified that he was made redundant alongside many more workers. Now jobless and being the sole breadwinner of the family he was forced to take odd jobs at construction sites. 

According to the Centre for Retail Research, the UK high street cut off around 177,000 jobs in 2020 and a further 200,000 are expected to be lost in 2021. With high street stores like Arcadia being forced to shut off for a long period of time due to lockdowns the shopping patterns also underwent major changes . Many shops settled on for online purchases which resulted in the lost of jobs for the staff. 

Another sector that continue to suffer huge losses due to the pandemic are the international students. In addition to the pandemic the international students also have to face extreme difficulties of the side effects of the pandemic like immigration rules, finding part time jobs and Brexit. 

Jetal Zala, an international student at Stirling University, pursuing her Masters of Research in Business and Management shared her experiences through the pandemic. “If the stringent immigration rules were not already a challenge, coronavirus has further exacerbated conditions. Many of us have lost our part time jobs ,  some are sustaining on food banks and many are struggling with mental health issues. All of this have a collective impact on our academics as well”

Jetal moved to Scotland in 2017 ,  where she completed her MSc at St. Andrews University. She added “ Like other international students ,I was hopeful of finding a job in the UK simply to gain work experience and further strength UK- India bilateral ties. But there are no campus placements offered by the university. Even if we find a job ,the company sponsoring our visa should provide proper justification to the Home office as to why international students are better suited for the job than the British citizens. “

Even though the pandemic was global and affected each and everyone in one way or another, the BAME workers have borne the brunt of the economic impact of the pandemic. While more than 800,000 workers have already been redundant, the unemployment rate is expected to climb up to 7.5% by mid 2021. The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady blames systemic racism that resulted in a high number of BAME workers becoming jobless. 

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