Figures show too many firms 'addicted' to zero...

Figures show too many firms ‘addicted’ to zero hours contracts, says Unite

19 September 2017

Too many companies like Sports Direct are ‘addicted’ to the use of zero  hours contracts and insecure working practices, Britain’s largest union, Unite warned today (Tuesday 19 September) as official figures showed there were 1.4 million contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours.

While down on the year before, zero hours contracts still accounted for five per cent of all employment contracts according to the figures. The figures also showed the number of workers employed on a zero hours contract in their main job remaining largely unchanged in the three months to June, falling by just 20,000 to 883,000 compared to the same period a year ago. 

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Insecure work is still a feature of day-to-day living for far too many people who are struggling to eke out a living, not knowing from one week to the next whether they can put food on the table. 

“The spread of bogus self-employment and low paid short hours contracts means millions are still in the grip of precarious work. Too many companies like Sports Direct are addicted to the use of exploitative zero hours contracts and insecure agency work. 

“These firms base their whole business models on low paid precarious work. It won’t change unless people join a trade union and organise for better working conditions. The government must not let these firms off the hook either and must act to outlaw zero hours contracts and other mutations of precarious work.

“We need an economy based on decent secure work, not the exploitative work practices of the Victorian era. The government needs to take a leaf out of New Zealand’s book and ban zero hours contracts now.”


For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869. 

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.