Plans to force jobseekers to take zero-hours work or face losing their benefit neatly sum up how this government views our economy. Under universal credit unemployed people could be sanctioned for refusing to take work that doesn’t guarantee regular …

 zero hours hall of shame

Plans to force jobseekers to take zero-hours work or face losing their benefit neatly sum up how this government views our economy.

Under universal credit unemployed people could be sanctioned for refusing to take work that doesn’t guarantee regular hours.

In a statement to the media, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka called this “a new kind of cruelty”.

The news comes a week after official figures revealed the extent of the use of zero-hours contracts.

It also follows publication of PCS survey responses from jobcentre advisers who said they did not believe stopping people’s benefits encouraged them to look for work.

Almost two thirds of respondents said they had faced pressure to refer claimants for a sanction inappropriately.

When the zero hours data was published we pointed out it went hand in hand with a sharp rise in the number of people registered as “self employed”.

While officially unemployment is falling, the numbers of those seeking permanent work or a full-time job also remain stubbornly high.

The social impact of these types of work arrangements is huge.

Yet ministers are apparently happy to foster a low wage, unstable jobs market, and put low-paid jobcentre staff in the firing line.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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