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Pro zero hours report ‘divorced from reality’, says Unite

Pro zero hours report ‘divorced from reality’, says Unite

26 November 2013
A new report backing zero hours contracts was branded as being ‘divorced from reality’ by Unite, the largest union in the country, today (Tuesday 26 November).

Unite said that today’s report from the CIPD claiming that zero hours contracts had been ‘unfairly demonised’ was ‘far from the experiences of daily exploitation’ that up to 5.5 million workers had to endure.

In September, independent research conducted for Unite by the social survey company Mass1 pointed to a growing subclass of insecure and low paid employment which could include as many as 5.5 million people on zero hour contracts.

The survey headlined the fact that only 13 per cent of the 5,000 polled said they would like to stay on zero hours contracts.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The independent evidence exposes this latest CIPD report as being divorced from the realities of daily exploitation of those on these obscene contracts.

“Even the CIPD admits that there are areas of poor practice in its report, yet still peddles the line that these contracts have a place in the UK workplace.

“The reality is that we are the seventh richest nation on our planet and there should be no place for such gross exploitation in the UK. Companies can well afford to employ people with dignity on proper contracts, with decent pay and guaranteed hours.

“Employers use zero hours contracts to cut wages, avoid holiday pay, pensions, and other benefits enjoyed by employees and agency staff. Workers are also unable to take on other work, as they are obliged to be available for work at the whim of the employer. And with the high level of insecurity comes the risk of bullying, harassment and stress.

“They should be scrapped and we will be strongly campaigning to see that they are in the months ahead.”

 ENDS

For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940

•    87 per cent of respondents to the UK Mass1 survey said that if they had a choice they would not like to remain on a zero hour contract.
•    70 per cent of people expected to travel for their job are not paid for travel time.
•    33 per cent of people are expected to be on call when they aren’t at work.
•    82 per cent of people are not paid for time when on call.
•    92 per cent of females are not paid for time when on call - this compares with 78 per cent of males.

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