Zero-hours Contracts

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18 Mar 2014

Families in the Rother Valley are facing the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation. Prices are increasing, wages are falling and many hard-working people are seeing rising insecurity at work. One of the worst examples is the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts.

Zero-hours contracts have gone from being a marginal, niche concept to becoming the norm in some areas and sectors under this Government. Last week it emerged that the number of people employed on zero-hours contracts has trebled to 583,000 since 2010.

The Government has overseen a rising tide of insecurity at work and ministers have been using inaccurate figures which hugely underestimate how widespread they have become. How can the Government deal with the problem of zero-hours contracts when ministers can’t even grasp its scale?

Something has to be done to reduce the insecurity and stress caused by zero-hours contracts. Employers should be banned from insisting zero-hours workers be available even when there is no guarantee of any work, zero-hours contracts that require workers to work exclusively for one business should be stopped and the misuse of these contracts where employees are in practice working regular hours should be ended.

Both employers and employees need flexibility but this shouldn’t mean people are lacking job security and having to be flexible about being able to afford the weekly shop. Rising insecurity at work must be tackled by ensuring that the Rother Valley is properly equipped to earn its way out of the cost of living crisis.