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Petition: to end zero hours contracts


TUC, petition, ban zero hours contracts, new Employment Bill, Define ‘flexible’ and ‘choice’.

At the last count around 900,000 people were on zero hours contracts.

That means that hundreds of thousands of people are trapped in jobs so insecure they are unable to plan childcare or budget for groceries.

Hundreds of thousands of people have jobs so insecure they are unable to plan anything.

This means not knowing when they will next work, that they are vulnerable to last minute shift cancellations and that they are prevented from putting down roots because banks don’t want to lend to them and landlords are wary of letting to them.

A wide range of voices have now spoken out against zero hours contracts.

Among them are business people like hi-fi retailer Julian Richer who called zero hours contracts “evil”.

The independent Low Pay Commission, that sets the minimum wage, has said workers should have the right to switch to a contract that reflects their normal hours of work.

And trade unions have been fighting for the abolition of zero hours contracts.

Employers who use zero-hours contracts claim they offer flexibility and choice. But far too often this is a one-sided flexibility when the employer decides when and where they want someone to work. And the worker has to agree or risk having no shifts at all.

Zero-hours workers are supposed to get statutory annual leave and the National Minimum Wage, but they are often denied these basic entitlements and have no legal right to sick pay.

For many people a zero-hours job is their only choice for work; the vast majority on zero hours contracts would far rather have a regular hours job.

The TUC wants workers to get guaranteed hours so they can pay their bills and save for the future, and a right to reasonable notice of shifts, with compensation if the shift is cancelled.

The government has the opportunity to set this up when it brings an Employment Bill to Parliament, something which is expected later this year.

Ministers have acknowledged there is a problem but advocate only giving people the right to request a contract with regular hours.

This is not a right at all when an employer holds all the power in a workplace.

At best, an employer accepts the request and the guaranteed hours are approved. However, a worker might not only have their request is turned down but also have their shifts cut for the following few months.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Trade unions in Ireland recently won a near total ban on zero-hours contracts and other key rights for people in insecure work. This included the right to compensation from employers if sent home without work and the right to guaranteed hours that reflect their normal working week.

If the system can change in Ireland it can change here too.

The government needs to use the forthcoming Employment Bill to get rid of zero hours for good.

Join us in sending a message to the government: sign the petition now and support a ban on zero-hours contracts for UK workers.

To sign the petition, click here.

And please share it widely. Thanks.

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