Zero Hour workers twice as likely to work 'health risk' night shifts, finds TUC

By agency reporter
February 12, 2019

Zero-hours workers are more than twice as likely to work night shifts than other workers, according to new analysis published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC). 

The analysis shows that on a range of key measures, zero-hours workers are having a tougher time than those in secure employment. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) regularly work through the night, compared to one in 10 of the rest of the workforce. Night-working has been shown to increase long-term health impacts, such as heart disease, shortened life expectancy and risk of cancer.  

People on zero-hour contracts are paid around a third (£4.10) less an hour than other workers.  This is despite the fact that one in seven (14 per cent) are responsible for supervising other workers. 

One in seven zero-hour workers (16 per cent) do not have work each week.  Zero-hours workers work on average 25 hours a week, compared to the average worker, who works 36 hours a week. 

The TUC is calling for a ban on zero-hour contracts alongside further action from government to tackle exploitative and insecure work.  The TUC's polling shows that two-thirds of zero-hours workers prefer to be on permanent, secure contracts. 

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary said: “The vast majority of people on zero-hour contracts want out. The only flexibility offered to them is what’s good for employers.  Zero-hours workers regularly work through the night for low pay, putting their health at risk. And many face the constant uncertainty of not knowing when their next shift will come.  

“We need action from the government now to stamp out these exploitative contracts once and for all.” 

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* Trades Union Congress


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