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One in nine workers in “insecure jobs” says TUC

Frances O'Grady

At least 3.8 million people are in insecure work, such as agency work, zero-hour contracts and low-paid self-employment. Contributor Frances O’Grady, General Secretary – TUC.

New analysis published by the TUC finds that 3,820,000 UK workers are in insecure forms of employment. This is 11.9 percent of the workforce, or 1 in 9 workers.

As well as economic hardship and disruption to family life, many workers in the ‘gig economy’ are denied key workplace rights, including: protection from unfair dismissal family friendly rights.

Bosses are falsely labelling staff as self-employed, outsourcing work to agencies or using zero hours contracts to drive down costs and dodge their employment and tax responsibilities, says the TUC. Agency and zero-hours staff can he hired and fired at will and have no right to return to their job after having a baby.  And ‘gig economy’ workers forced into bogus ‘self-employment’ by their boss are not guaranteed the national minimum wage, paid holidays or sick pay.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Every worker deserves fair pay, decent rights, and a voice at work. But millions are stuck in jobs with bosses who treat them like disposable labour. We need a new deal for working people so that every worker gets respect, and every job is a good job.

“The government must crack down on shady business models that exploit workers. No more zero-hour contracts. No more bogus self-employment. And no more using agency workers to undercut permanent staff.

“Workers deserve so much better. That’s why tens of thousands of people will march through London on Saturday for the TUC’s ‘A New Deal for Working People’ demonstration.” The TUC’s national march and rally for ‘A New Deal for Working People’ takes place on Saturday 12 May. Assembly is from 11am at Embankment. The march will commence at 12noon and will culminate in a rally at Hyde Park at which Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will speak.

To improve employment practices, the TUC is calling on the government to: Ban zero-hours contracts to ensure workers get guaranteed hours, allowing them to pay bills and plan childcare; Ensure equal pay for agency workers, by ending the Swedish Derogation which acts as an undercutters charter. Crack down on bogus self-employment and ensure workers enjoy the same floor of rights as employees, including redundancy pay and family-friendly rights; Allow trades unions to access workplaces, to support workers most in need of representation; Increase resources and powers for enforcement, so that dodgy employers have nowhere to hide.

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