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Government urged to use employment bill to ban zero-hours contracts

THE TUC has called for the abolition of zero-hour contracts after official figures showed that nearly one million people are trapped in the “gig” economy.  

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed today that 978,000 workers are on the precarious contracts as they try to make ends meet at a time of massive uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Everyone deserves  to be treated with dignity and respect at work. 

“But nearly a million workers are employed on contracts that do not guarantee them work from one week to the next.  

“People need jobs they can build a decent life on.

“The government must use its much-delayed employment Bill to ban zero-hours contracts once and for all.”

The legislation to tackle insecure work was promised in the December 2019 Queen’s speech, but it has yet to be put before Parliament.

The government has said that launching the Bill is only a matter of “securing parliamentary time,” claiming that “protecting and enhancing workers’ rights” is a priority.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was forced to confirm to MPs in January that there were no plans to water down rights at work after it emerged that ministers were considering changes.

Pressure for government to act intensified last week after the Supreme Court confirmed that Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed contractors, meaning that they are entitled to holiday pay, breaks and a guaranteed minimum wage.

The ruling could have major implications for everyone in precarious work.

The Treasury has been contacted for comment.

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