As part of his latest re-launch the Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has spoken out against zero hour contracts. My view is that, properly used, such contracts can play an important role in a dynamic economy. I don’t recall Mr Miliband condemning Labour run Bury Council who clearly thought these contracts were useful as the reply to a Freedom of Information Request revealed the Council employed 3,418 people on such contracts in 2013.
Although this is being billed as a ‘new’ announcement back on 25th April on the Politics Home website the Labour Leader wrote:
‘We’re going to end the exploitation of zero hour contracts and say very clearly, by law, if you’ve worked for 12 months doing regular hours you should be entitled to a clear right to a regular contract, not a zero hours contract.’
For many people such as students, the self-employed and older workers zero hours contracts provide the flexibility they need. They suit both employer and employee. The Government is legislating to prevent employers from incorporating ‘exclusivity’ clauses in these contracts as the effect of such clauses is to stop employees from having other employment. Zero hour contracts are not new and the Office for National Statistics estimate that even as far back as the year 2000 there were 225,000 such contracts and the Labour Government did not nothing to legislate about them then.