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Working Conditions One in 12 young people are working in zero-hours jobs

ZERO-HOURS contracts have risen to nearly two million in Britain, with one in 12 young people working uncertain hours.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the figures, published today, increased from 1.7m to 1.8m in the year to last November and represents 6 per cent of all contracts.

Of these, the ONS has reported, 901,000 workers are on zero-hours contracts as some are forced to work more than one.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Most people are not on zero-hours contracts by choice. They want the same rights, security and guaranteed hours as other employees.

"More than half of zero-hours contract workers have had jobs cancelled with less than a day's notice. Zero-hours contracts are a licence to treat people like disposable labour and the government should ban them."

Resolution Foundation think tank's Stephen Clarke, said the use of zero-hours contracts increased rapidly in the wake of the financial crisis.

He said: "Around 900,000 workers are on a zero-hours contract, including one in 12 young people and, while some workers appreciate the flexibility they bring, for others they bring insecurity and lower pay.

"The government can help both of these groups by providing a right to guaranteed hours for anyone who has, in practice, been doing regular hours on a zero-hours contract for at least three months."

The study found that people on zero-hours contracts are more likely to be young, part-time, women or in full-time education and have average working hours of 25.2 per week.

Results also revealed that just over a quarter of people on the contracts want more hours, mainly in their current job.

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: "These scandalous figures show Theresa May's out-of-touch government is completely and utterly failing to tackle insecure work.

"The number of zero-hours contracts should be falling but they are in fact on the rise.

"How can you plan your life, pay the bills or feed your family when you are trapped on a zero-hours contract?

"Insecure work burdens people and families with stress. If ministers really want to tackle the mental health crisis, they should be looking at the world of work and the consequences of their political inaction."

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