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Mar 11th, 2014

Zero hours: public consultation

By Belinda Turffrey

Imagine if your boss called up and said you were only needed for, and being paid for, five hours work next week. And probably not at all for the following week. Would it be a problem making ends meet?

For nearly one million people on zero hours contracts this is a reality. The contracts offer no guarantee of work week to week, and put all the power in the hands of employers.

Last year, over 100,000 members of 38 Degrees helped convince the government to hold a public consultation into these types of contracts. We now have just two days to tell business minister, Vince Cable, exactly how these contracts should be improved.

Can you help stand up for fairer working practices and demand the government improves zero hours contracts? It only takes two minutes to email Vince Cable. Please click here:

Flexibility of working hours is great, if there is genuine flexibility for everyone. But often bosses use it as a discipline tool. Some people don’t even realise they are working on zero hours contracts as bosses don’t explain properly. Some employers tell workers they can’t work for anyone else, as they need to always be available even though they don’t guarantee work. That’s just wrong.

Last year lots of 38 Degrees members wrote in to talk about their personal experiences on zero hours contracts. From being forced to work late for free, to not getting any hours because they had taken a day off sick – most of the stories were pretty shocking.

The government’s public consultation is a positive first step. But the way it’s written is so complicated – and they’ve barely promoted it. Which is where 38 Degrees members can help. Together we can flood Vince Cable’s office with emails demanding he improves these contracts.

Click here to fill in the form. We’ve simplified it so it only takes two minutes:

It won’t be easy to sort out zero hours contracts, but for the sake of over one million people who have no job security, we’ve got to try and get it right.

PS: 38 Degrees member, Zahera, is taking her ex-employer, Sports Direct, to an employment tribunal because of the treatment she received on a zero hours contract. Over 10,000 members of 38 Degrees chipped in to fund Zahera’s case. Have you worked for Sports Direct or know someone who has? Would you be willing to talk about your experience? If yes, please get in touch: emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk

PPS: If you want to fill in the government’s own consultation form, you can find it here

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