'UK is one of seven countries that allows zero-hour contracts'

“The UK is one of only seven countries that allows zero-hour contracts.”

These were the words of Julian Richer, founder of Richer Sounds at a Trade Union Congress (TUC) event, ‘Zero in on Zero Hours’ on the 13/1/20.

The event discussed the injustices of zero-hour contracts and how unions and employers can campaign together to put an end to this type of work.

Just last year (2019), Ireland banned zero-hour contracts with the TUC hoping the UK will follow suit.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC said:

Ireland last year outlawed zero-hour contracts. People on zero-hour contracts are not entitled to sick pay, redundancy and holiday pay. The TUC will hold this government’s feet to the ground and campaign for a ban of zero-hour contracts. The best way to win fairness is through trade union organisation. 2020 is to be the year where unions fight for the under paid.

Ms O’Grady went on to explain how zero-hour workers are at the beckon call of their boss, with Mr Richer agreeing with this, as he said:

Workers are so vulnerable when they negotiate with their bosses especially when they are on zero-hour contracts.

A TUC study found that two-thirds of zero-hour workers want guaranteed work. Ms O’Grady did explain how younger employees do claim to enjoy working zero-hour contracts due to the flexibility of the work, but this is a very small minority.

Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union (BAFWU) went on to explain that even Buckingham Palace has some zero-hour employees.

Mr Hodson said:

It gives managers a lot of power. We are desperate people now if we are using zero-hour contracts.

Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Exchequer is expected to announce better employee rights to protect those on zero-hours contracts in his Budget on March 11.