Britain’s largest union, Unite called on the government to follow New Zealand’s lead in outlawing exploitative zero hours contracts as official figures out today (Thursday 8 September) showed a 20 per cent increase in the number of people saying they work on a zero hours basis as their main job.
The increase, up from 747,000 a year ago to just over 900,000, points to a world of work which is becoming increasingly insecure and an economy becoming ever more reliant on low paid precarious work warned Unite.
Commenting on the figures, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "This sharp rise in the numbers of people reliant on zero hours work points to an economy which is increasingly being built on precarious work with more and more workers not knowing from one week to the next whether they will be able to pay the bills.
"Since the Conservatives unleashed their austerity on working people in 2010, insecure, poorly rewarded work has risen three-fold. This is the real story of the Conservatives and their stewardship of the economy - growing numbers of people trapped in the daily worry of not knowing if they will have work or can keep a decent roof over their family's head.
"As New Zealand has shown governments do not have to sit on the sidelines when it comes to tackling exploitation. They can outlaw zero hours contracts.
"Prime minister Theresa May now needs to prove true to her word about supporting working people by setting out her plan to rid working people of the twin curses of insecurity and low paid work.
"Let's see the UK government follow the lead of their counterparts in New Zealand and ban the use of zero hours contracts as part of a plan to halt the tide of insecure low paid work."
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.