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Jun 25th, 2014

Zero Hours: Public Consultation opens in Northern Ireland

By Amy Lockwood

In April, over 1600 members of 38 Degrees in Northern Ireland emailed employment minister, Stephen Farry MLA, to back his call for a public consultation on zero hours contracts. Great news – it worked! Yesterday, Stephen Farry MLA launched the consultation. Now we have the chance to shape the future of zero hours contracts in Northern Ireland.

Just 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 30,000 people in Northern Ireland this is a reality. Zero hours contracts offer no guarantee of work week to week, and puts all the power in the hands of employers.

Stephen Farry MLA has said that the consultation will focus on contracts which tie people into one job – even when that job doesn’t guarantee hours. But there’s loads of other problems – like lack of security and the contracts being used as a disciplinary tool. Let’s make sure this consultation takes into account all of these issues.

Flexibility of working hours is great, if there is genuine flexibility for everyone. But often employers use the prospect of future work as a discipline tool. Some tell workers they can’t work for anyone else, as they need to always be available even though there’s no guarantee of work from one day to the next. Zero hours put all of the power in the hands of employers.

If you live in Northern Ireland, click here to send an email in to the consultation – it only takes two minutes.

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