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The News Line: News One in ten in ‘insecure’ work! THE NUMBER of zero-hours contract and low-paid self-employed workers has rocketed by a quarter since 2011 to three million, new research released yesterday by the TUC has disclosed.

That means that one-in-ten workers in the UK today are ‘insecure workers’. Even more startling is the number of teachers, waiters and care workers that are in insecure work, this has more than doubled in the last five years.

And the number of people in insecure work has shot up by more than 660,000 (27%) over the past five years. The large increase to the overall figure has been driven by a huge rise in the number of teachers, care workers and waiters forced to work on insecure contracts.

The TUC says what all these contracts have in common is that they leave workers in the position where:
• Their wages can fluctuate without warning.
• They find it hard to get their basic employment rights respected.
• They miss out on key protections like sick pay; and
• They are at the mercy of bosses who can withdraw their hours or even take them off the job with no notice.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Insecurity at work is becoming the new normal for too many workers. It’s happening across new and old industries, with workers forced onto shady contracts whether they’re Uber drivers, bar staff or teaching assistants.

‘Workers in unionised workplaces are twice as likely to be on secure contract. So I say to working people: “If you’re not in a union, get some mates together and all sign up if you want a better deal at work”.’

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: ‘Homecare workers are under severe pressure to provide top-notch – and often intimate – care, while building vital personal relationships with the people they care for.

‘But with many on zero-hours contracts, it makes it a lot likelier they won’t be regularly caring for the same individuals. It also means care workers are understandably reluctant to challenge their employers when things aren’t as they should be, for fear of losing work. Unfortunately that’s why the non-payment of travel time, minimum wage violations and visits too short to dispense proper care are all too frequent.’

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said: ‘These figures show what work in Tory Britain looks like, but they’re much more than numbers on a page. Behind these figures are millions of working people who are doing their best to get by and get on in life, who don’t have basic rights such as sick pay and dignity at work.

‘They don’t know what hours they’ll have next week or how much their wages will be. Increasingly, the stories behind these stats are from the people who care for our parents when they’re old and who look after our kids at school. People can’t live like that and they shouldn’t have to.’


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