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Issue date

date: Wednesday 25 February 2015

embargo: For immediate release

Zero-hours contracts sum up what has gone wrong in the modern workplace, says TUC

Commenting on figures published today (Wednesday) by the Office For National Statistics, which show that the number of zero-hours contracts being used by employers has increased to 1.8 million , TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Zero-hours contracts sum up what has gone wrong in the modern workplace.

“They shift almost all power from the worker and give it to their boss. Anyone on such a contract has no guarantee of any work from one day to another. Put a foot wrong, and you can find yourself with little or no work.

“Employers often argue that they offer flexibility, but trying telling that to zero-hours workers who can’t get a mortgage or pay their rent.

"In many sectors, especially social care, zero-hours contracts are used to drive down costs regardless of the impact on services and the workforce.”

TUC research shows that:

  • Zero-hours workers earn £300 a week less, on average, than staff on permanent contracts.
  • Two in five zero-hours workers are paid less than £111 a week and do not qualify for statutory sick pay.
  • Short-term and insecure working patterns mean many zero-hours workers do not work continuously with one employer for two years. As a result, many miss out on statutory redundancy pay, the right to return to their job after maternity leave and protection from unfair dismissal.


- The TUC is organising Fair Pay Fortnight 2015 between Monday 16 February and Sunday
1 March. The Fortnight is part of the TUC’s Britain Needs a Pay Rise campaign and will feature a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about low pay, pay inequality and the need for higher pay settlements in the public and private sector. For more information please visit

- All TUC press releases can be found at
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

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