05 June 2017
Up to 10 million workers – around one third of the workforce – are currently in insecure work, according to new research from GMB.
Furthermore, a poll of 1,000 precarious workers – defined as those in the gig economy, on zero or short-hours contracts, temporary workers, the underemployed and those at risk of bogus self-employment – also found that 69% had seen their cost of living rise faster than their earnings, and 35% would struggle to manage an unexpected bill of £500.
Most insecure workers reported health problems as a result of their jobs, with 61% saying they had suffered from stress or anxiety due to their work and 61% saying they have turned up for duty even when unwell because they were afraid they would lose their job, not get paid, or miss out on future work.
The research reinforced reports that precarious work is becoming more prominent in today’s workforce, with 78% of insecure workers saying they had previously been in permanent employment.
Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “That’s a sorry state of affairs in the 21st century and a product of government’s failure to tackle bogus self-employment, the use of agency contracts a business model and point blank refusal to ban zero hours contracts.
Indeed, the Institute of Employment Rights outlined in its Manifesto for Labour Law – 25 recommendations for reform – evidence that the weakening of labour law and trade union protections over the last 35 years has created an environment that encourages the exploitation of workers and deepens inequality.
The authors – 15 leading labour lawyers and academics – argue that the reform of labour law could turn back the tide on worsening conditions at work and provide safe, secure and high-quality jobs as well as a stronger economy.