North East workers call for a ban on zero-hour contracts as figures show workers are paid £4 an hour less

Workers in the North East are calling for a ban on zero-hour contracts as new figures show workers do double the night shifts and are paid an average of £4 an hour less.

By Poppy Kennedy
Monday, 11 February, 2019, 15:47
TUC Secretary for the Northern region Beth Farhat

New TUC analysis published today shows that zero-hour workers are having a tougher time than those in secure employment on a range of measures.

In the North East, 1 in 10 workers are stuck in jobs that offer them little or no security – whether its low-paid agency work, bogus self-employment or zero-hour contracts.

A TUC poll also found that that two-thirds of zero-hour workers would prefer to be on permanent, secure contracts.

Today marks the start of HeartUnions Week and this year will campaign for a ban on zero-hour contracts.

An online petition has been set up to build support for the ban and union leaders will negotiate an end to zero-hour contracts in workplaces where they have recognition.

Beth Farhat, TUC Secretary for the Northern region, said: “The vast majority of people on zero-hour contracts in want out. The only flexibility offered to them is what’s good for employers.”

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“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 the government to stamp out these unfair contracts. Working people in the North East need solid jobs, with guaranteed hours, to provide for a decent family life.”

Figures show 23% of zero-hour contracts workers regularly do night shifts, compared to one in ten of the rest of the workforce.

Night-working has been linked to heart disease, shortened life expectancy and higher risk of cancer.

Zero-hours contract workers are on average paid around a third (£4.10) less an hour than other workers. This is despite 12% of zero-hours workers being supervisors and managers.

While one in seven zero-hour workers do not have work each week. And they work on average 25 hours a week, compared to average workers, who work for 36 hours a week.