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May 6th, 2014

Zero Hours: Stop forced contracts

By Amy Lockwood

The government is planning to force people who are out of work to take zero hours contract jobs, or face losing their benefits. Zero hours contracts can be great, if the job offers enough regular work to pay your bills. But the problem with these contracts is that they often don’t.

This is the situation that over one million people currently out of work in the UK will soon be facing. If they don’t apply for, and accept, ‘suitable’ zero hours contract jobs they could lose their benefits. Even though these jobs offer no guaranteed hours and no security.

After hearing from thousands of 38 Degrees members, business minister Vince Cable carried out a review of zero hours contracts. He’s already said that there’s “clear evidence of abuse”. Yet another part of his own government is ploughing ahead with changes which could potentially force more people onto these contracts.

Last year lots of 38 Degrees members shared their personal experiences of zero hours contracts. It was pretty shocking. Some had been forced to work extra hours for free. Some were threatened with reduced hours for taking a day off sick. Some were disciplined for questioning these bullying tactics.

For some, zero hours contracts offer flexibility and the perfect way of working. But for others, ‘flexibility’ actually means job insecurity and exploitation.

You can email the employment minister and tell her to rethink her plans here

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