ONS reveals staggering number now in super-exploited jobs
A STAGGERING 1.4 million workers in Britain are now subjected to contracts which do not guarantee their working hours or wages.
The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) sparked immediate condemnation of the zero-hours culture from Labour and the TUC.
Under zero-hours contracts, workers have to be available for work whenever the employer wants them. They have no guaranteed hours or shifts.
Such contracts are often abused by employers even further, with workers punished by withdrawal of work if they object to their treatment.
Responding to the latest ONS figures, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: “It is a national scandal that there are 1.4 million contracts that don’t guarantee minimum hours, with people stuck in limbo in insecure work, not knowing how much they’ll earn from week to week, unable to budget for basic necessities and unsure if they can even pay the rent.
“The government urgently needs to get a grip on the broken labour market, which is rigged against workers, and adopt Labour’s policy to ban zero-hours contracts.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said that 1.4 million zero-hours contracts is 1.4 million too many.
“While it’s good that some employers have ditched them as a result of union campaigning, let’s not pretend that life at the sharp end has become easier overnight,” she said.
“One in 10 UK workers remain in insecure jobs. The spread of low-paid self-employment, agency work and short-hours contracts mean millions are struggling to get by.
“The government cannot afford to take its eye off the ball. We need more decent jobs in the parts of the country that need them most.”
The TUC called for “guaranteed hours” contracts for workers, overtime pay for people called in to work outside their contracts, all workers to be given in writing their terms, conditions and working hours from the day they start work, rights to statutory sick pay, equal rights for all employees, and agency employees’ pay to be equal to directly employed workers.