Workers of Bangladeshi heritage in Britain are paid a fifth less than their white counterparts, official figures produced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed, reports Morning Star, UK on Tuesday.
The first official analysis of Britain’s ethnicity pay gap showed ethnic minority workers were paid an average of 3.8 per cent less than white workers in 2018.
In London, the average pay deficit was a shocking 21.7 per cent, the newspaper report said.
Shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler said the figures showed a “shocking persistence of ethnic pay inequality,” while general union GMB called for a change in the law to force employers to report their ethnicity pay gap.
The ONS found that ethnic Chinese workers earned 30.9 per cent more than their white counterparts and ethnic Indian workers 12 per cent more.
But ethnic Bangladeshis were paid 20.2 per cent less than white Brits, and Pakistanis at 16.9 per cent less — up from 16.6 per cent in 2017.
Ms Butler, who sits in Labour’s shadow cabinet, fumed: “People need to earn a fair wage based on merit, not by virtue of the colour of their skin.
“It’s shocking to see the largest ethnicity pay gap exists in London at 21.7 per cent — one of the most diverse capital cities in the world.
“While the government seeks consultation on the ethnicity pay gaps from employers, it’s yet to give us tangible solutions to address the issue. We need action, not audits.”
She said Labour would “make it a priority to close all pay gaps, gender and ethnicity included.”
The ONS measured the difference between the gross median hourly pay of white British employees and that of other ethnic groups.
Average gross hourly earnings for white British employees in 2018 were £12.03.
The statistics watchdog found that the overall ethnicity pay gap in Britain decreased from 4.2 per cent in 2017 to 3.8 per cent in 2018.
But among African, Caribbean and black British workers, the gap rose from 5.5 per cent less to 9.2 per cent less.
GMB equality and inclusion officer Nell Andrew said: “It’s truly disturbing that in 2019 the UK should have any ethnicity pay gap — let alone one as big as this.
“GMB is calling for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting. It’s a vital step in tackling in structural and inbuilt biases and, in some workplaces, dismantling institutional racism.”
In eastern England ethnic minority workers were paid 3.9 per cent more than white workers, and in north-east England they were paid 6.5 per cent more.
In Scotland, ethnic minority workers were paid 10.2 per cent less, while in Wales they were paid 7.5 per cent less.
ONS senior analyst Hugh Stickland said: “Overall, employees from certain ethnic groups, such as Indian and Chinese, have higher average earnings than their white British counterparts.
“However, all other ethnic groups have average wages lower than for white British employees, with employees from the Bangladeshi ethnic group having the largest pay gap.
“Once characteristics such as education and occupation are taken into account, the pay gap between white British and most other ethnic groups becomes narrower, though significant differences still remain.”