Life on zero hour contracts

News story
News story

IT is one of the most divisive topics of modern years ... zero hour contracts.

For many it gives them freedom to pick and choose when and where they want to work but for many others it has helped trap them into a cycle of poverty.

My husband has a second job on a zero hours contract to top up his first job but it’s not a good idea, he’s not entitled to any sick pay or holiday pay. He doesn’t know from one day to the next if there is work at times and the employers are allowed to do this

Cheryl Roby

Last week, Labour announced measures they intended to take to outlaw zero hour work if they were to gain power.

Describing it as an “epidemic” leader Ed Miliband said the party “will pass a law that says if you’re working regular hours, you’ll get a regular contract... a legal right that will apply to all workers after 12 weeks”.

“To anyone trying to raise a family on a zero-hours contract, you shouldn’t be left at the beck and call of an employer who can ask the world of you but can give you no security in return,” added Mr Miliband.

“It’s not fair, it’s not good for business and we’ll put a stop to it.”

The Wigan Evening Post asked our readers on Facebook how they viewed the practice and what they thought of Labour’s policy to bring an end to zero hour contracts.

Wigan has a large number of workers on zero hours, although there has been no definite study into precisely how many people are currently on such contracts.

Many of our readers doubted Labour’s policy would actually work.

Vicki Lyons said: “I have two zero hour contracts, I can work as much or as little as I like. Suits me perfectly, don’t know what the fuss is about.”

Anne Nicholson agreed. She said: “Won’t work, Company will stop staff on 11 weeks then start again. Scrap zero hours altogether.”

Cheryl Roby gave a personal example of the damage zero hour contracts can do to families.

She said: “My husband has a second job on a zero hours contract to top up his first job but it’s not a good idea, he’s not entitled to any sick pay or holiday pay. He doesn’t know from one day to the next if there is work at times and the employers are allowed to do this.

“Labour’s polcy will not help. Employers will end a contract on week 11 and then you’re back in the benefits system.”

Stuart Harvey said: “The same promise was made in 1995, 15 years later they were still in place.”