Government plans on zero hours contracts do nothing to tackle insecure working, warns Unite

20140510_BRD001_0Government plans announced today (Wednesday 25 June) to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts will do nothing to end the insecurity of zero hours working warned Britain’s largest union, Unite.

Exclusivity clauses stop an individual from working for another employer, but only represented part of the problem argued Unite.

Commenting on the plans Steve Turner, Unite assistant general secretary said: “Zero hours contracts are a zero sum game for workers struggling to get by. The only winner is the employer and these measures do nothing to tackle the insecurity or uncertainty of zero hours contracts.

“Work harder get poorer seems to be the message from a government that has proved itself ignorant to the daily struggles of working people. Employers use zero-hours contracts to dodge tax and cut their wage bill, while avoiding holiday pay, pensions, and other benefits enjoyed by other employees and agency staff.

“Rather than giving the freedom to be exploited by a number of employers and not just one, the government should be taking action to create decent jobs and stop the growth of insecure working that is consigning millions to in-work poverty.”

No to zero hoursThe rise of zero hours contracts in the workplace is the latest attack on workers’ rights and dignity. Put simply, zero hours contracts cover a range of arrangements that mean workers have no guaranteed weekly hours or income, and are only being paid for the hours that they do work. Unite wants to challenge employers to end the exploitation.

Employers use zero hours contracts to cut wages, avoid holiday pay, pensions, and other benefits enjoyed by employees and agency staff. Workers are also unable to take on other work, as they are obliged to be available for work at the whim of the employer. And with the high level of insecurity comes the risk of bullying, harassment and stress. It’s time to end the exploitation.

Zero hours contracts are on the rise having almost doubled in the last five years. The latest data shows some 1.4 million people are now ’employed’ on zero hours contracts, and these figures underestimate the reality as many people do not know they are on them.

Are you on a zero hours contract? Then please fill in the survey, you can remain anonymous if you choose and we won’t pass any details on without asking you first, help us compile a proper picture of what life is like on zero hours contracts.

It’s time to end the exploitation – Email your MP.

Please contact your MP – using the form below – and tell them to opopose the rise of zero hours contracts. You might like to include some of the clear recommendations Unite has made, which we know would help end exploitation for many zero hours workers:

  • Drop the steep charge for employment tribunals (one of the only ways workers can pursue justice);
  • Define zero hours workers as employees with all the legal protections that accompany this;
  • Require government to use its purchasing power to wipe out insecure employment from all state contracts.

Contact your MP using the form below and make your voice heard today!
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.


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