Usdaw has called for legislation to provide protection for zero-hours contract and agency workers. Speaking at TUC Congress in Liverpool , general secretary John Hannett says: ‘The number of workers on zero-hours contracts has grown massively in recent …

Tim Lezard Europe, UK,

zero hours hall of shameUsdaw has called for legislation to provide protection for zero-hours contract and agency workers.

Speaking at TUC Congress in Liverpool , general secretary John Hannett says: ‘The number of workers on zero-hours contracts has grown massively in recent years. There are also a huge number of agency workers who are unfairly getting paid less than the going rate for the job. People desperate for work have understandably been willing to sign up to any contract for work and unscrupulous employers have taken advantage of the uncertainties in the economy.

‘The Coalition has failed to regulate the misuse of zero-hours contracts and agency work, allowing millions of workers to be exploited. Even the Government acknowledges there are 1.4 million workers on zero-hours contracts and there are a similar number of agency workers. That means that 1 in 10 workers is on either an agency or zero-hours contract.

‘Labour is the only party offering significant reforms and their commitment to tackle the abuse of zero-hours contracts is welcome. Banning exclusivity, providing compensation for late cancelled shifts and a fixed-hours contract for those who work regular hours are much needed protections.

‘However, having to wait a year before you have a right to a contract reflecting your normal hours is not good enough. If you’ve been working regular hours for 12 weeks that is proof that a zero-hours contract is not appropriate. Taking this further step will make a real difference to workers trying to make a living from the most insecure jobs.’

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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