Britain’s largest union, Unite accused the government of creating an economy reliant on low-paid, part-time insecure work today (Wednesday 9 March) as official figures showed the number of workers on zero hours contracts increased by 104,000 to 801,000.
Warning of a growing crisis in insecure work, Unite pointed to today’s Office for National Statistics figures showing there were around 1.7 million contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours in November.
The figures confirmed a growing number of workers relying on more than one zero hours contract to make ends meet said Unite with young workers and women particularly hit.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “Under this government the world of work is becoming less secure with increasing numbers of people trying to eke out a living not knowing one day to the next if they have work.
“Far from being a ‘flexible’ choice for workers, zero hours contracts put all the power in the hands of the employer and are increasingly becoming the only form of work open to young people.
“This ‘treat them mean, keep them keen’ form of employment leaves people at the whim of their employer and unable to plan for the future, rent a home or get a mortgage.
“Everyone deserves decent work and the dignity and security of knowing how much they will earn from one week to the next. This government has repeatedly crowed about the falls in unemployment, but what it never mentions is the type of precarious, insecure work and falling wages it has overseen.
“The government needs to tackle the growing crisis of insecure employment by following the lead of governments like New Zealand in banning zero hours contracts.”
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.