2 September 2015
The number of workers on Zero Hours Contracts has gone up, it has been announced today.
The latest Office for National Statistics figures inform us that the number of people reporting that they work on contracts without a minimum number of hours climbed from 624,000 in 2014 to 744,000 today.
This is a rise of 19% – 2.4% of the total UK workforce of 31 million are now employed on zero hours contracts.
The increase (by almost a fifth over a year) plays out a likely trajectory given how profitable the contracts are for business, and the government’s inaction in combatting their abuse.
The ONS also notes that ZHC workers are more likely to be contracted to large employers than smaller firms, and to work in the hotels and leisure industries. 40 percent of ZHC workers want more hours.
The TUC published a study in December showing that average weekly earnings for zero-hours workers were £188, compared with £479 for permanent workers. Commenting on the latest figures, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said;
“Zero-hours contracts are a stark reminder of Britain’s two-tier workforce. People employed on these contracts earn £300 a week less, on average, than workers in secure jobs. I challenge any minister or business leader to survive on a low-paid zero-hours contract job, not knowing from one day to the next how much work they will have. Try telling zero-hours workers who have been turned down by mortgage lenders and landlords that they are getting a good deal. We need a stronger and fairer recovery that works for everyone, not one that forces people to survive off scraps of work.”
Without proper market regulation the number of zero hours contracts and workers on them will only continue to rise. Re-regulating Zero Hours Contracts by Zoe Adams and Simon Deakin provides a comprehensive analysis of the contracts, and outlines what can and should be done to combat their abuse.