TUC warns on growth in insecure employment

By agency reporter
April 27, 2017

Analysis from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), forming part of a series showing what the British economy will look like in 2022 if current trends continue unchecked, finds that by the start of 2022, 3.5 million people could be in insecure work such as zero-hours contracts, temp or agency work, and low-paid self-employment.

Previous TUC research found that workers on insecure zero-hours contracts earn a third less per hour than the average worker.

The TUC also found that insecure work costs the Treasury £4 billion a year in lost income tax and national insurance contributions, along with extra benefits and tax credits.

The TUC is calling for:

  • A ban on zero-hours contracts: people working regular hours should have a right to a guaranteed-hours contract.
  • People on variable-hours contracts to get overtime pay for hours outside of their contracts.
  • All workers to have a right to a written statement of terms, conditions and working hours, from day one.
  • Everyone at work to get the same rights as an employee, unless the employer can show that they are genuinely self-employed.
  • Agency workers should be entitled to the going rate for the job, on an equal basis with directly-employed workers.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: "MPs aren't the only ones feeling insecure in their jobs right now. If nothing changes, hundreds of thousands more Brits could be stuck in insecure work, being treated like disposable labour. That's the same as thirteen extra Sports Directs, or the entire working population of Sheffield.

"Paying rent and bills can be a nightmare when you don't know how much you've got coming in each month. And planning childcare is impossible when you're constantly at the beck and call of employers.

"The next government will need to tackle this problem head on. Every party manifesto must have real commitments to crack down on zero-hours contracts and bogus self-employment. And agency workers should always get the going rate for the job."

*The TUC’s definition of insecure work includes those on zero-hours contracts, insecure temporary work like agency and casual work, and low paid self-employment. The figures are based on OBR projections for the growth in the number of employees and self-employed people between 2016 and 2021, TUC calculations based on ONS data that 39 per centof the increase in employee numbers between 2011 and 2016 has come from insecure work, and data from the Social Market Foundation showing that 45 per cent of the self-employed are in low paid work.

* TUC https://www.tuc.org.uk/

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