Zero-hours Contracts

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11 Sep 2013

Many people in the Rother Valley are employed on zero-hours contracts; they and their families face struggles on a daily basis.

Some have to sacrifice time with their children in order to be available whenever their employer requires them to be, even if there is no work. Others are required to work exclusively for one employer with no guarantee that they will get enough hours to pay the bills.

Zero-hours contracts mean insecurity and stress for too many families. This can’t continue, which is why we need plans to outlaw the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts.

I would like to see employers banned from insisting zero-hours workers be available even when there is no guarantee of any work, a stop to zero-hours contracts that require workers to work exclusively for one business and an end to the misuse of zero-hours contracts where employees are in practice working regular hours over a sustained period.

Both employers and employees need flexibility and zero-hours contracts can be useful for certain professionals such as doctors or supply teachers. However flexibility shouldn't be an excuse for the exploitation of hard-working people. I am in favour of flexibility but I am not in favour of people lacking job security and having to be flexible about whether they can afford the weekly shop. We have got to put a stop to that.

The Prime Minister boasts that he has fixed Britain’s economy but what he fails to realise is that his economic recovery is only benefitting a few at the top and not the vast majority of people, too many of whom are employed on unstable zero-hours contracts.

We need to build an economy that works for working people because a recovery that only benefits a few at the top is not only unfair but also unstable. It won’t be built to last. People should feel confident and secure at work; ending the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts is an integral part of achieving this.