Labour announces promise to ban zero-hour contracts

Labour announces promise to ban zero-hour contracts

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor has outlined how a Labour Government would ban zero-hours contracts, repeat the Trade Union Act and set up a department for employment to enforce new policies.

John McDonnell, who is a key Jeremy Corbyn ally, promised that if Labour got into power his measures would boost the UK’s economy.

On Tuesday, he told the Trades Union Congress in Manchester: “Our programme of workplace reform will restore the balance between employer and worker, and it will do so by installing basic trade union rights in law again, modernising corporate governance structures and extending the opportunity for employees to share collectively in the benefits of ownership of their company.”

McDonnell also promised to take a tougher stance on bogus self-employment.

Under the plans, workers in jobs with flexible hours and temporary contracts could be given similar rights to those in permanent work.

The Labour veteran also outlined that Government contracts would only be given to firms that allowed collective bargaining and staff at larger firms would be able to receive shares in their firm – giving them a stake in the profits and management of the company.

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite union, said measures for workers would be widely welcomed.

He said: “It is simply not right for the sixth richest country on earth to have allowed a situation to develop whereby a worker only knows if he or she will earn a wage that day when they get a text message to tell them that they have a shift.”

Earlier this year, HR Grapevine’s sister publication, Recruitment Grapevine, reported on an employment firm which stood accused of managing their staff in a last-minute manner and using insensitive text messages.

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PMP recruitment stood accused of textings workers threatening to sack them if they did not work on New Years day.

At the time, one said: “I don’t find it fair. They threatened me with dismissal after being absent for one day. I’m not afraid of losing a job, I’m more angry about the way they treat people."

"Why not treat people fairly? Sometimes you do 2pm to 10pm and then 6am to 2pm the next day.”

According to Acas, 865,000 workers are currently employed through an agency – meaning their hours can be changed, cut or stopped without warning.

Paddy Lillis, the General Secretary of the shopworkers union Usdaw, told the Guardian this was a dire situation which Labour are looking to change.

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He said: “It is clear that Labour fully understands the problems low-paid workers have in getting enough hours to make a weekly wage they can live on.”

Under current laws, workers aren’t entitled to minimum notice periods if their employment will end, protection against unfair dismissal, the right to flexible working, time off for emergencies and statutory redundancy pay.

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