September 26th, 2016

Zero hours workers pushed to the edge

Zero hours workers pushed to the edge Zero hours workers pushed to the edge

FOLLOWING new regulations on zero hours contracts concern is growing amongst employees who are battling for change.

One zero hours worker contacted us after writing an open letter to Karen Lumley, Conservative MP for Redditch about the measure.

She asks businesses to realise that the practice is pushing employees not only to make sacrifices but forcing them to live on the edge of poverty.

“It is the silent plague that is sweeping the country,” said the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job.

“We are expected to be available outside of hours given to us – we have to be available full stop.”

Zero hours contracts were initally intended for students and usually mean there is no obligation for employers to offer work, or for workers to accept it.

New regulations prevent employers from enforcing ‘exclusivity clauses’ in a zero hours contract whereby an employer restricts workers from working for other employers.

However, the woman said zero hours are being applied to people who want and have worked full time.

“If there are not enough customers these employees are told not to come to work. But they must be ready, just in case they are needed. Failure to do this can result in dismissal.”

When she asked if there were more shifts available following a reduction in her 30 hour week, she was told she could pick up a cleaning shift, running from 8am until 2pm and starting immediately after a night shift beginning at 10pm.

A colleague who has worked at the company for eight years was suffering the same fate: “She has lost weight, is on anti-depressants and cannot claim assistance because her hours are so random.”

She added: “It is the silent killer of worker’s rights, we are being taken back to the Victorian times.”

* What do you think? Write to the Redditch Standard at Webb House, Church Green East, Redditch, B98 8BP or email .