Zero hours contracts 'to stay'

A 12-week consultation into zero hours contracts will be launched by Business Secretary Vince Cable. He said they had a place in the labour market, but was concerned some companies were abusing them.

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TUC calls for 'tougher action' on zero hours contracts

The Trades Union Congress said the Government is "desperately short on solutions" when it comes to the use of zero hours contracts.

The growth of zero hours contracts is one of the reasons why so many hard-working people are fearful for their jobs and struggling to make ends meet, in spite of the recovery.

But while the Government has identified some of the problems faced by those with zero job security, it's desperately short on solutions to curb the use of these contracts.

Through the consultation, the TUC and unions will propose tougher action in order to tackle abuse of zero hours contracts, which can leave people not knowing how much they'll be earning from one week to the next.

– TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady

Zero hours contracts 'beneficial' to some employees

Zero hours contracts can be "beneficial for students, older workers or with caring duties" according to a business chief.

John Wastnage, head of employment at the British Chambers of Commerce, welcomed Vince Cable's consultation into zero hours contracts but warned against demonising the controversial business practice.

We welcome the Government's consultation as an opportunity to ensure best practice, but without jeopardising employment opportunities.

Much of the negativity surrounding zero hours contracts misunderstands the vital role they can play in creating jobs.

For example, they can be beneficial for students, older workers or those with caring duties who don't want to be constrained by a fixed contract, and they allow employers to experiment with new services or markets.

– British Chambers of Commerce John Wastnage


Possible ban on 'exclusivity' in zero hours contracts

Business Secretary Vince Cable has ruled out a ban on "flexible" zero hours contracts but said that there may be a ban on exclusivity clauses that prevent employees from working elsewhere.

Vince Cable does not want an outright ban on zero hours contracts. Credit: PA

The controversial business practice, where people are not guaranteed any working hours, will be put under the microscope by the business secretary in a 12-week consultation.

Mr Cable said: "A growing number of employers and individuals today are using zero hour contracts.

"While for many people they offer a welcome flexibility to accommodate childcare or top up monthly earnings, for others it is clear that there has been evidence of abuse around this type of employment which can offer limited employment rights and job security.

"We believe they have a place in today's labour market and are not proposing to ban them outright, but we also want to make sure that people are getting a fair deal."

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