342,000 workers have insecure jobs in the South West, says TUC

New analysis published today (Thursday) by the TUC shows that 342,000 workers in the South West are in insecure work. This makes 12.3% of the regional workforce.

As well as economic hardship and disruption to family life, many workers in the ‘gig economy’ are being denied key workplace rights including:

  • protection from unfair dismissal
  • family-friendly rights
  • rights to be represented by a trade union

Bosses are falsely labelling staff as self-employed, outsourcing work to agencies or using zero-hours contracts to drive down costs and dodge their employment and tax responsibilities, says the TUC.

Agency staff and workers on zero-hours contracts can be hired and fired at will, and have no right to return to their job after having a baby.  And ‘gig economy’ workers forced into bogus ‘self-employment’ by their boss are not guaranteed the national minimum wage, paid holidays or sick pay.

TUC Regional Secretary for the South West Nigel Costley said:

“Every worker deserves fair pay, decent rights, and a voice at work. But too many are stuck in jobs with bosses who treat them like disposable labour. We need a new deal for working people to make sure every job is a good job.

“The government must crack down on shady business models that exploit workers. No more zero-hours contracts. No more bogus self-employment. And no more using agency workers to undercut permanent staff.”

“People in work deserve so much better. That’s why this Saturday thousands of workers and their families from the South West will be travelling to London for the TUC’s ‘A New Deal for Working People’ demonstration.”

The TUC’s national march and rally for ‘A New Deal for Working People’ takes place on Saturday 12 May. Thousands of people are expected to attend from across the UK. Assembly is from 11am at Embankment. The march will commence at 12noon and will culminate in a rally at Hyde Park at which the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will speak.

 Number of workers and proportion of workforce in insecure forms of employment in the UK, 2017

UK nation or region

Number of workers

Proportion of workforce

North East



North West



Yorkshire & Humberside



East Midlands



West Midlands



East of England






South East



South West









Northern Ireland



United Kingdom



– Source and methodology:

  • These figures represent the number of people in ‘insecure work’ in October to December 2017.
  • For this analysis ‘insecure work’ includes (1) temporary workers (including ONS categories for ‘agency workers’, ‘casual workers’, ‘seasonal workers’ and ‘other’; excluding ‘fixed-term contracts’), (2) workers whose primary job is a zero-hour contract, (3) self-employed workers who are paid less than the National Living Wage (£7.83).
  • All data is from the Office for National Statistics. Data on temporary workers and zero-hour workers is taken from the Labour Force Survey (Q4 2017). Data on low-paid self-employed workers is taken from the Family Resources Survey (2016/17).
  • Double counting has been excluded.

– For more information on A New Deal For Working People visit: https://www.tuc.org.uk/new-deal-working-people-tuc-march-and-rally

– To improve employment practices, the TUC is calling on the government to:

  • Ban zero-hours contracts to ensure workers get guaranteed hours, allowing them to pay bills and plan childcare.
  • Ensure equal pay for agency workers, by ending the Swedish Derogation which acts as an undercutters charter.
  • Crack down on bogus self-employment and ensure workers enjoy the same floor of rights as employees, including redundancy pay and family-friendly rights.
  • Allow trades unions to access workplaces, to support workers most in need of representation.
  • Increase resources and powers for enforcement, so that dodgy employers have nowhere to hide.

– The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.