UK firms used 1.8 million zero-hour contracts in 2017 - it's time to ban zero-hour contracts

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Published date
23 Apr 2018
New zero-hour contracts data confirm the scale of the problem  
New figures published today by the Office for National Statistics, show that UK firms used 1.8 million zero-hour contacts in 2017, this represents 6 per cent of all employment contracts. Earlier analysis showed that 901,000 people have a zero-hour contract as their main employment (final quarter of 2017). The TUC believes that the Government should ban zero-hour contracts. We believe that everyone should have the right to a contract that guarantees the hours they work.
 
It is often argued that zero-hour contracts offer flexibility for both the employer and the worker, however many workers say this is an illusion – it is one-way flexibility for the employer.
 
  • More than half (51%) of zero-hour workers have had shifts cancelled at less than 24 hours' notice.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73%) have been offered work at less than 24 hours' notice.
  • And alarmingly, around a third of those on zero-hour contracts (35 per cent) have been threatened with not being given shifts in the future if they turn down work.
  • Only 25% say they prefer being on zero-hour contracts
In addition, the poll found
  • Only 1 in 8 (12%) say they get sick pay.
  • Only 1 in 14 (7%) would get redundancy pay.
  • Two-fifths (43%) say they don’t get holiday pay.
  • Half (47%) say they do not get written terms and conditions.
  • Just 1 in 20 (5%) say they have the right to a permanent contract after working the same hours consistently.
We are sceptical of the Taylor review’s and Government’s recommendation that those on zero-hour contracts be given a ‘right to request’regular hours after a year on the job. With only a ‘right to request’ the power dynamic continues to remain in favour of the employer.
 
Everyone should have the right to a contract that guarantees the hours they work.