TUC event calls for new rights for workers
A TUC event today will bring together leading figures from unions, business and community organisations to call for new rights for workers to end exploitation through zero-hours contracts.
The Zero in on Zero Hours event will take place at 6.30pm at Congress House. The event is supported by Thompsons Solicitors, which has specialised in representing working people since it was founded in 1921.
It will be chaired by Daily Mirror journalist Ros Wynne-Jones. Speakers include:
- Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC
- Ian Hodson, National President of the BFAWU
- Julian Richer, Entrepreneur and author of The Ethical Capitalist
- Lynn Henderson, PCS national officer for Scotland and Ireland
- Sherene Nelson-Cruddas, Better than Zero (Scottish campaign against zero-hours contracts)
- Ripon Ray, Universal Credit Action Network
- Bryan Simpson, Unite Hospitality
The event will be an opportunity to discuss how unions, good employers and voluntary sector organisations can campaign together in 2020 to put an end to the injustice of zero-hours contracts.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The government has promised new laws on workers’ rights. But the current proposals for a ‘right to request’ predictable hours will achieve nothing. Ireland has shown the way by banning zero-hours contracts. Britain must do the same.
“This isn’t just about doing the right thing for working people. It’s about supporting good employers too. It’s not fair if bad employers undercut them with business models based on the exploitation of workers.”
Rakesh Patel, head of employment rights strategy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “With almost 900,000 people working on a zero-hours contract – four times that of 20 years ago – it’s time for the government to move past vague promises to “end low pay” and ensure that all UK workers are given the basic rights and job security to live a normal life. We are proud to support the TUC and the trade union movement’s calls to ban zero-hours contracts and send a clear message to unscrupulous employers that these exploitative working practices cannot continue.”
BAFWU president Ian Hodson said: “Our members on zero-hours contracts are very vulnerable. Many of them feel powerless to complain, even if they suffer serious problems at work like bullying and sexual harassment. The response from managers can be threats to cut their hours of work. But they simply can’t afford to lose any pay, so what can they do?
“We have cases where managers text people to come straight in. But when they arrive, they find the same text was sent to several workers and only one is needed. And they don’t get their travel costs back, so it’s like being on negative pay.
“Lots of landlords won’t take you if you are on a zero-hours contract. And of course you can’t get a mortgage. So we have members who have been forced to live in places that are unfit for habitation and dangerous to their health.
“Nobody should have to live like that in 21st Century Britain. Every job should give people the basic security they need to live a decent life.”
Richer Sounds founder and MD Julian Richer said: “As an employer I care passionately about my colleagues. And I can’t imagine anything more likely to cause misery than not knowing day-to-day whether they will have enough money for food or rent.
“These evil ways of exploiting people at work must be banned – as indeed they are in the great majority of European countries. If we can’t give working people basic security, we should be ashamed.”
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