• South West region sees biggest rise of zero-hours workers since records began
  • TUC calls for ban on use of zero-hours contracts

 According to analysis of recent government figures by the TUC South West, there are more workers being employed on zero hours contracts than ever before – with over 16,000 people alone (16,040) in Dorset believed to be employed under a zero-hours contract (ZHCs).

In total, 107,000 workers in the South West report they are on a zero-hours contract – a huge increase of 42% (32,000 workers) from the previous year – and the largest volume since records began.

Despite higher levels of employment, the trade union body warns this is no time for celebration.

According to the TUC South West, insecure employment contracts often impact negatively on workers’ lives and make it hard to stay afloat financially.

Following a recent survey of zero-hours workers conducted by the TUC they found:

  • The main reason workers are on insecure work contracts is because it’s the only type of work available to them – with most wishing alternative, permanent contracts instead;
  • Over half (54%) say they struggle to pay bills because they can’t get enough work;
  • And most have had shifts cancelled last minute thus making it difficult to plan child-care and personal appointments.

The TUC has also calculated the exchequer loses £1.9bn a year because ZHCs workers earn on average a third less than permanent workers.

Commenting on the latest figures, Nigel Costley, regional secretary of the TUC South West said:

“We know the majority of workers on zero-hours contracts don’t want to be on them. They’re completely one-sided and cause so much financial strain.

“Most of these contracts are also used in essential, yet low paid industries like hospitality, construction, and social care.

“Nobody can earn a living or raise a family off this type of insecurity.

“The flexibility for workers claimed as an advantage of zero-hour contracts can still be achieved in ways that are not so unfair.

“Boris Johnson thanked the working classes for lending him their vote. One of his first duties as Prime Minister should be to ban zero-hours contracts and ensure ordinary working people get the permanent, guaranteed hours contracts they deserve.

“New Zealand has done it. Ireland has done it. It’s time the UK stepped up and banned zero-hours contracts.“

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