Unite national officer for equalities Harish Patel said: “The ONS figures showing that black people and those of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage are more likely to die from Covid-19 is disturbing in the extreme.
“As a country we cannot ignore the structures of inequality that still plague many ethnic minority communities and that have had a major part to play in the disproportionate amount of suffering people of colour have experienced during the pandemic.
“Discrimination and inequalities, whether that’s through overcrowded housing, greater risk of health vulnerabilities or economic disadvantage, are a fact of life for black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) people in modern Britain.
“Every weapon in the government’s armoury must be used to ensure that BAME communities are shielded from further tragedy during the pandemic.
“That goes for employers as well – far too many BAME members of the Unite family, including London bus drivers and NHS staff, have died while serving their country. Meanwhile those continuing to serve remain at a greater risk than their white colleagues.
“When we do emerge from the crisis, there must be a reckoning and it will be incumbent on politicians, employers, and the UK as a whole, to find a way to rid the scourge of racial inequality from our society for good.”