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Zero-Hours Contract Numbers Rise To Almost 700,000 In Uk

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Guardian 25/2/2015

'Nearly 700,000 people are on zero-hours contracts in their main job - a rise of more than 100,000 on a year ago - according to new official figures.

The rise is likely to trigger renewed debate over the widespread use of contracts that offer no guarantee of hours and only those benefits guaranteed by law, such as holiday pay.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of people estimated to be employed on a zero-hours contract in their main job was 697,000, representing 2.3% of all people in employment. In the same period in 2013, the figure was 1.9% of all people in employment, or 586,000.

Overall, because workers often have more than one job official figures showed the number of employment contracts offering no minimum hours jumped from 1.4m in 2013, to 1.8m last year.

The ONS said th e 28% increase was not so much the result of a surge in the number of zero-hours jobs offered by employers last year, but due more to increasing recognition of the contracts by staff when asked by researchers about their employment termsT.

Some of Britain’s largest employers offer zero-hours contracts to employees. Highstreet giants such as JD Wetherspoon, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Sports Direct and McDonald’s all use the deals.

Buckingham Palace has offered the contracts to staff working in the summer when the Queen’s main residence is open to the public.

The ONS said over half of businesses in the hotel and catering sectors used the contracts and a quarter of businesses in education made some use of no-guaranteed-hours contracts in August 2014.

Universities and colleges have become large-scale users of zero-hours contracts, while an estimated 160,000 care staff are also on similar deals.

Around a third of people on them want more hours, the ONS added, saying people on zero-hours deals are more likely to be women, students in full-time education or working part-time. They are also more likely to be aged under 25, or 65 and over.

A report in the Daily Mail earlier this month found that scores of MPs, including 36 from Labour , were found to be offering zero-hours contracts to researchers. Based on a series of freedom of information requests, the newspaper also found several Labour-run councils offering zero-hours contracts.

In a speech last year, Ed Miliband accused Sports Direct, which employs 20,000 staff on zero hour contracts, of “Victorian practices” in the way it treats staff. The founder of Sports Direct, Mike Ashley, is being called to the Commons by the Scottish affairs committee over the treatment of employees at its USC retail business and the use of zero-hours contracts.

Labour is expected to say in its general election manifesto that it will change the law so that workers with regular shifts have the legal right to a regular contract.

The Unite union leader, Len McCluskey, warned: “Increasing numbers of workers face a year of working harder and getting poorer thanks to the explosion of insecure working and exploitative zero-hours contracts.”

The ONS added that its consecutive surveys were also difficult to
compare after they were carried out at different times of the year and
prone to seasonal changes in employment practices.'

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I think it's a bit more insidious than that.

Temping is generally a short-term job with fixed hours.

Zero-hours, you are contracted to be available and like what you are given. If Universal Credit ever worked, everyone (except the elite of course) could be on such contracts - the slack picked up by the taxpayer.

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I think it's a bit more insidious than that.

Temping is generally a short-term job with fixed hours.

Zero-hours, you are contracted to be available and like what you are given. If Universal Credit ever worked, everyone (except the elite of course) could be on such contracts - the slack picked up by the taxpayer.

Sounds like subsidizing employers to allow them to pay below survival rate wages...

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Sounds like subsidizing employers to allow them to pay below survival rate wages...

Works so well in the USA with food stamps they thought they'd bring it across the pond.

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Didn't we used to just call it 'temping'?

No. Temping offered fixed hours and paid between 2 and 4 times the median wage for that job

The way the media harp on about it, you'd think its a new thing.

It is.

And the misery of it is compounded by the abject failure of Universal Credits, Sanctions and removal of immediate entitlement to benefits like JSA.

I am sure that it is illegal under European Human Rights treaties however the only people with access to such rights are those deemed 'worthy' by philanthropic elites.

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Jesus,

I read this, then I think how much a normal family home is in much of the UK, I think of the gradual collapse in "good" jobs and I wonder that when it comes just how big the HPC could be?

Someone posted on here that this was the last great HPI before a prolonged brutal grind down to zero and I think with this job market that is what we are looking at.

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Jesus,

I read this, then I think how much a normal family home is in much of the UK, I think of the gradual collapse in "good" jobs and I wonder that when it comes just how big the HPC could be?

Someone posted on here that this was the last great HPI before a prolonged brutal grind down to zero and I think with this job market that is what we are looking at.

You do wonder how all the graduates are going to buy homes when they're paying back £50k out of their zero hours jobs in pubs,coffee and sports shops.

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You do wonder how all the graduates are going to buy homes when they're paying back £50k out of their zero hours jobs in pubs,coffee and sports shops.

This is what I think when I hear people go on about HPI forever and houses never lose money. At the most basic level the maths makes no sense.

The UK is gradually running down now, the high tec industries gave us a bit of a boost and there are some smart folk here but this is a tiny percentage. On top of this more and more jobs are being automated or done away with altogether. At the very least technology is making some jobs much more efficient so you don't need as many folk doing it.

I cannot see anyway they can keep this going for another ten years. I just don't know if the collapse will be very quick or a long downward grind or a bit of both.

When someone tells me that in ten years the average house will be worth a million quid I ask what amazing 300k a year jobs we will all be doing and they can never answer.

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It's akin to the group of men waiting around for a foreman to come up and offer them a days work - except reinvented for the 21st century. Now you can wait at home - but you can't take any other employment and you might get only a few hours rather than a days work.

In a way, it's the natural consequence of our just-in-time society - and actually possibly a good thing. If your income didn't depend on it, and you didn't have commute back and forth - you'd probably be happy to work a few hours here and there as needed. Much better than trying to make work in a job without enough, or being bored at work.

Perhaps it's also a step towards a society without work as it bound to move up the food chain work wise. Perhaps it already has given the number of starving middle-class consultants out there. The trouble is that it doesn't work unless someone is ensuring the zero hours person gets to eat, pay their bills etc when they aren't working.

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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You do wonder how all the graduates are going to buy homes when they're paying back £50k out of their zero hours jobs in pubs,coffee and sports shops.

After fiscal drag, yes

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Maybe this is what the news this morning about the ineffectiveness of the flu jab was about, softening us up for mass death at the hands of a virus.

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Can think of another 650 odd who think they are on zero hour contracts, but not in the same way the article suggests.

Edited by onlyme2

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The Good

Zero hours has been useful for the Saturday kid who was off to university and wanted work when they were back in the summer/winter holidays. It was also useful for people leaving the company, and it was offered as a goodwill jesture by the employer, if they ever wanted to come back - their rate of pay was saved, as well as other working terms.

It worked like this - I'm back in town - do you need me? Yes, can you do this... etc..

The Bad

When Zero hours is abused.

It might work like this - I need you to be available Mon - Fri 9-8pm, anytime, hours aren't guaranteed, and I might have only a week's notice of when I need you.

Edited by 200p

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Well just seen a Liemor party broadcast on the box apparently they are going to ban zero hour contracts and raise the minimum wage to £8.50

It did not state when though me thinks about Q1 2020 if they win in May that is

Edited by long time lurking

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You do wonder how all the graduates are going to buy homes when they're paying back £50k out of their zero hours jobs in pubs,coffee and sports shops.

Polish graduates dont have student loans to pay surely, unless your telling me that there are still some brittish people doing these jobs ?.

Edited by goldbug9999

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Zero-hours aren't necessarily abusive.

If you enter into deal whereby you get the offer of hours when wanted, and no compulsion to be exclusively available I think that's fair enough. It's obviously wrong to demand availability without offering guaranteed hours.

I employ people on zero hours contracts but they are not compelled to be available, we have simply done the necessary to accept each other as & when it suits both parties.

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I employ people on zero hours contracts but they are not compelled to be available, we have simply done the necessary to accept each other as & when it suits both parties.

Yes, fair enough. But you should pay them on a self employed basis not PAYE. In fact you should preferably pay them Ed Balls style cash in hand so they can at least compete with the HSBC criminal types.

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Yes, fair enough. But you should pay them on a self employed basis not PAYE. In fact you should preferably pay them Ed Balls style cash in hand so they can at least compete with the HSBC criminal types.

If I I could, I would. Anything to make their efforts more valuable so long as it doesn't put me in jail, which those would! ;)

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Another generational division,most zero hours contracts are offered to 18-25 year olds in the service sector.

Reads more and more like the ragged trousered philanthropists and a return to Victorian values.

Two tier society coming up if this crap isn't stamped out next parliament.

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Another generational division,most zero hours contracts are offered to 18-25 year olds in the service sector.

Reads more and more like the ragged trousered philanthropists and a return to Victorian values.

Two tier society coming up if this crap isn't stamped out next parliament.

Already a two tier society.......that is why some people feel better off, when in fact they are not, it is only because far more are falling beneath them....

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My Mrs has one job with a zero hours contract. She often gets a text at 9pm asking here if she can work for 30 minutes the next morning for minimum wage. It costs more in petrol to get there then she gets paid.

The company seems baffled why she turns the work down. I've pointed out that her zero hours contract is also a zero commitment contract. You can work elsewhere anytime you want.

These contracts seems to be a way to avoid holiday pay (which is paid pro-rata based on contracted hours i.e. zero).

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