Unite calls for government action to curb insecure employment after record rise in zero hours contracts

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, called on government ministers to tackle the rise in insecure employment after today’s (Wednesday 15 March) Office for National Statistics figures showed zero hours contracts had increased by 101,000 in the last quarter of 2016 to 905,000 compared with the previous year.

Pointing to separate TUC estimates showing that more than three million people are now in insecure employment, the leader of the country’s largest union called on the government to tackle exploitative zero hours contracts and strengthen rights to tackle bogus self-employment.

Commenting Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “For many the fall in unemployment is good news, but scratch the surface and we see a world of work which is becoming increasingly insecure for a growing number of people.

“With record numbers of people on zero hours contracts, the experience of not knowing if you’ve earned enough to pay the bills has become the unacceptable norm for too many families.

“People didn’t vote to the leave the European Union to become the sweatshop of Europe. The UK government must act to tackle bogus self-employment and follow the example of its New Zealand counterparts by outlawing zero hours contracts. If we are to build an economy based on decent, secure jobs then insecure working must end.”

The TUC defines those in insecure work as those in seasonal, casual, temporary or agency work, those on zero hours contracts and the low-paid self-employed workers.