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Aug 23rd, 2013

Zero Hours – meeting with BIS

By Belinda Turffrey

Members delivering zero hours petition to BIS

Yesterday three 38 Degrees members, along with lawyers working on the 38 Degrees funded legal action against Sports Direct went to the Business Department. Along with the staff team, we met up with Paula Lovitt, the lead official on the government’s zero hours contracts review to talk about our campaign.

We handed in our 85,000 strong petition and then spent over an hour talking about zero hours contracts and the effects they have on hard working people. 38 Degrees members Susie, Christine and Andrew were brilliant. They explained how ‘flexibility’ actually means job insecurity and stress to many people, and talked about their own personal experiences.

receipt of petition hand-in from BIS

Paula took lots of notes and confirmed that she would include details of our meeting in the internal review paper being written for the Business Minister, Vince Cable.

She also explained that they had spoken to everyone from big businesses to unions to understand the uses and any abuses of zero hours contracts. Disappointingly, they haven’t spoken to Sports Direct.

If you want to see what Susie, Christine and Andrew thought about the meeting, watch the short video we made.

So what happens next? Vince Cable will be given the internal review paper next month. We don’t know exactly what it will say, but we hope it will include some options for dealing with zero hours contracts – everything from greater transparency, to issues around broader rights and working conditions.

Yesterday’s meeting wouldn’t have been possible without 38 Degrees members. By chipping in to help fund the court case against Sports Direct, signing the petition and emailing Sports Direct bosses we’ve shown that this is a hugely important issue, so thank you.

We were glad to get the chance to talk to Paula about our experiences, but an internal review won’t give everyone on zero hours contracts the opportunity to be heard. We hope the numbers of us who have spoken up will be enough to convince Vince Cable into holding a public consultation.

That’s not the end of our campaign. There will be a debate in parliament on zero hours, when MPs are back next month. And we are waiting to hear back from Sports Direct about our legal challenge. Zero hours contracts is an issue that is not going away. Once Vince Cable responds to the review, we can plan our next move. In the meantime, thanks for everything you have done so far.

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