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Guaranteed hours would tackle “overwhelming insecurity” of Zero Hour Contracts says Fiona Twycross AM

Londoners on zero-hours contracts should be guaranteed at least 80% of the hours they have worked over the previous three months, Labour’s London Assembly Economy Spokesperson Fiona Twycross AM said. Dr Twycross, launching a new report, Zero Sum Game, into the use of zero-hours contracts in London, said guaranteeing a minimum number of hours would “help tackle the overwhelming insecurity that comes with not knowing when your next pay cheque will arrive.”

Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this month revealed that 96,000 Londoners are now employed on zero-hours contracts. With 41% of those employed on zero-hours contracts in the UK saying they want more hours than those they are currently offered, Dr Twycross said government should consider an arrangement similar to that recently agreed between trade unions and McDonalds in New Zealand, which guarantees employees 80% of the hours they have worked over the previous three months.

Whilst zero-hours contracts remain popular with some groups, particularly students and parents, who benefit from looser working arrangements, Dr Twycross said “flexibility shouldn’t be just one way”. Rules to ban exclusivity clauses, which prevented workers from accepting work with another employer, came into force in May. But with ‘effective’ exclusivity clauses remaining, allowing employers to penalise workers for accepting hours elsewhere, Dr Twycross said government must stop “sitting idly by and watching it happen.”

Labour London Assembly Economy Spokesperson, Fiona Twycross AM, said:

“Whilst of course the flexibility of zero-hours contracts benefits some people, there’s no escaping that for so many others they remain the epitome of unfairness and insecurity.

“It’s completely unreasonable to leave people high and dry with little idea of when they can expect to work and how much they can expect to take home. With London’s cost of living so high, guaranteeing a minimum number of hours would help tackle the overwhelming insecurity that comes with not knowing when your next pay cheque will arrive.

“If the trade unions and McDonalds in New Zealand can reach an agreement which offers more stability to workers, surely it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that our government can do more to address insecure employment here.

“Flexibility shouldn’t be just one way. Government should be doing more to protect people on zero-hours contracts from being penalised, instead of sitting idly by and watching it happen.”

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