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Most zero hours workers stuck on their contracts – TUC report

20 Feb 2024 2 minute read
TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak. Photo Stefan Rousseau PA Images

Most zero hours workers are “stuck” on their contracts, highlighting the need to ban them, according to a new report.

The TUC said hundreds of thousands of workers are being trapped in low-pay and insecurity, with bad employers “parking workers on zero hours contracts for years on end”.

Its study of official data found that two in three zero hours contract workers have been with their current employer for over a year, while one in eight have been with their employer for over 10 years.


Only 7% of zero hours workers have been with their current employer less than three months, said the TUC.

The latest data showed there are 1.15 million people on these contracts.

Black and minority ethnic women are nearly three times as likely to be on zero hours contracts as white men, said the report.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “Everyone should be treated fairly at work, but too many workers – especially black and ethnic minority women – are trapped in low-paid jobs on zero hours contracts, with few rights and protections and no guarantee of shifts.

“Bad employers are parking workers on zero hours contracts for years on end.

“These precarious contracts hand almost total control over workers’ hours and earning power to managers, making it nigh on impossible to plan budgets and childcare.

“Insecure work has boomed on the Conservatives’ watch over the past 14 years, with the number of workers on zero hours contracts hitting the one million mark.

“That’s why a ban on zero hours contracts is long overdue. Working people should have a right to a contract that reflects their regular hours of work.

“It’s time for a New Deal for Working People, like Labour is proposing – which includes a ban on zero hours contracts, ensuring workers get reasonable notice of shifts and an end to fire and rehire.”

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1 month ago

People should only ever be on zero hours deals if that is what suits them. That would reduce the numbers dramatically. Employers should not have the right to impose such contracts. Variable hours contracts should also be constrained by law and only be used where an employee agrees to them.

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