BBC Newsnight Slams Zero Hours Contracts

The BBCs flagship Newsnight programme last night (August 14th) exposed the use and abuse of Zero Hours Contracts in a hard hitting piece by Allegra Stratton.

Companies are using zero hours contracts by not giving their employees guaranteed hours, but expecting them to be available to work with a few hours’ notice – all the year round.

One of the companies highlighted was McDonald’s.

Companies say they are being fair and are providing valuable experience to staff, but the myth was exploded when the evidence showed that they are exploiting the current crisis and driving down pay and conditions.

TUC’s Sarah Veale

In an interview following the piece with the TUCs Sarah Veale and Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi, Mr. Zahawi admitted meekly: “Obviously a problem with zero-hour contracts”. Not much there is!

He condesendingly tried to claim (having run a business in Germany, that the German “midi and mini contracts” introduced in 2003 had been the  basis of low unemployment in Germany to which Sarah rightly scewered him pointing out that in Germany workers were protected by national collective agreements on pay and conditions negotiated by trade unions.

One of the best pieces on Newsnight in a long time and work watching.

Click here to see the broadcast – coming in at 14 minutes 20 seconds.

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This entry was posted in Employment Rights, European Trade Unions, Labour Party, Media, Politics, Trade Unions, Trades Union Congress, Unite The Union, Workers Uniting. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to BBC Newsnight Slams Zero Hours Contracts

  1. Drew says:

    I would like to write about this issue as I am currently on a zero hour contract (and have been for two years). I believe that the terms and conditions of my contract are wholly weighted in favour of my employer.

    There is a clause in the contract which says that I will have to do unpaid work outside of my paid working hours (it’s teaching lecturing). This is not uncommon at all in this area of work.

    Am completely at the mercy of employer as to how many hours they decide to give me. During the summer I was offered five weeks work at a good wage but which would have overlapped with the start of term. I felt that if I took the work, the employer could easily just decide not to give me hours, and would be under no obligation to dismiss me (I could never claim I was dismissed)

    There appears also, to be no clarification anywhere about whether a zero hours workercan also be considered an employee.

    My union told me there was nothing I could do. I replied that I thought the whole point of being in a union was to empower people and protect them from this kind of thing.

    If you can offer any advice about how I can start to raise awareness of zero hours and the law, please feel free to get in touch.

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