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Unions discuss how to put an end to the ‘injustice’ of zero-hours contracts

UNIONS and business leaders met today to discuss how they can campaign together to end the “injustice” of zero-hours contracts.

The event, organised by the TUC, discussed how to achieve new rights for workers who unions believe are being exploited.

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.”

Richer Sounds head Julian Richer, who attended the event, called for the “evil ways of exploiting people at work” to be banned.

Bakers’ union BFAWU 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?

“Lots of landlords won’t take you if you are on a zero-hours contract, and of course you can’t get a mortgage."

The issue of zero-hours contracts came back into the spotlight earlier this month after Deliveroo and UberEats driver Takieddine Boudhane was stabbed to death in a suspected road-rage incident.

The 30-year-old was attacked while on his moped in Finsbury Park, London, on Friday January 3.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the incident was a sign that zero hours is not working and called for gig-economy employers to take responsibility and improve conditions.

Three days later, on Monday January 6, another Deliveroo rider in Nottingham was the victim of a racist assault.

The driver, known only as Ibraheem, was thrown against railings and called a “dirty brown bastard” and told to “go back to his country,” according to the IWGB union.

A Business Department spokesman said: “The Taylor review found that banning zero-hours contracts altogether would hurt more people than it would help, as they provide flexibility for carers, students or working parents.”

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