1,200 Zero-Hours workers in Dorset face lower pay and higher health risks

According to the South West Trades Union Congress, there are some 1,200 people in Dorset whose main job is a zero-hours contract.

But this is not by choice – the TUC conducted a poll which found two-thirds of zero-hours workers want to be on permanent and secure contracts.

The TUC has also conducted new analysis that shows zero-hour workers are having a tougher time than those in secure employment.

  • Night shifts: Nearly a quarter (23%) of zero-hours contracts workers regularly do night shifts, compared to one in ten of the rest of the workforce. Night-working has been linked to heart disease, shortened life expectancy and higher risk of cancer.
  • Lower wages: Zero-hours contract workers are on average paid around a third (£4.10) less an hour than other workers. This is despite 12% of zero-hours workers being supervisors and managers.
  • Lack of work: One in seven zero-hours workers (16%) do not have work each week. And they work on average 25 hours a week, compared to average workers, who work 36 hours a week.
  • Stress: Not knowing if you will get work next week and being paid low wages have a significant impact on mental health according to union polling

TUC Regional Secretary for South West Nigel Costley said:

Too many Dorset workers have to rely on insecure employment and the worst are zero-hours contracts.”

“The vast majority of people on zero-hours contracts want out. The only flexibility offered, is flexibility that works for employers.”

“Zero-hours workers regularly work for low pay, including through the night, which puts their health at risk. Many also face the constant uncertainty of not knowing when their next shift will come – adding to their financial struggles.”

“We need the government to stamp out these unfair contracts. Working people in Cornwall need solid jobs, with guaranteed hours so they can provide for a decent family life.”

Heart Unions Week, is when trade unions members celebrate and showcase what trade unions do to help working people.

This year, Heart Unions Week will be ramping up its campaign for a ban on zero-hours contracts. Union leaders will commit to negotiate an end to zero-hours contracts in workplaces where they have recognition. And an online petition will build public support for a ban.