Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 August 2013

Zero tolerance for zero-hours!

Ian Pattison, Youth Fight for Jobs
Youth Fight for Jobs outside Sports Direct, photo Ian Pattison

Youth Fight for Jobs outside Sports Direct, photo Ian Pattison   (Click to enlarge)

Zero-hour contracts have hit the headlines with a bang. One million workers - more than four times as many as previously thought - are on zero-hour contracts. For those unlucky enough to be counted in this statistic, there are no guaranteed hours, no guaranteed work, and no guaranteed pay.

You can be called up by your boss at a moment's notice and expected to be in work. Boots, one of the many high street chains using zero-hour contracts, had the cheek to tell staff with no guaranteed hours that they may be asked to work abroad!

Zero-hour contracts make it impossible for us to plan our lives. You don't know one week to the next how much work you will have, how much you will get paid, whether you'll have any work at all. 14% of people on zero-hour contracts say they do not earn enough to live.

Race to the bottom

Zero-hour contracts aren't just a nightmare for the workers suffering under them - they are part to the race to the bottom, driving down pay, terms and conditions of all workers. You can't get any lower than zero-hours!

We're returning to the dark days when dockers and other workers would face the humiliation and uncertainty of lining up before a potential day's shift, hoping to be picked for work by the boss.

Almost three million workers are out of work in Britain (one million of them aged 16 to 24). But this latest scandal proves that the real unemployment figure is a lot higher.

In the 1980s, the Tories changed the way unemployment was measured 20 times to disguise the true cost of Thatcher's vicious policies. Today, companies' use of zero-hour contracts allows the government to claim many more people are employed than have the security that used to come with having a job.

Under pressure, big business politicians like Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, and various Labour Party figures have joined the chorus criticising zero-hour contracts. But what sets Youth Fight for Jobs apart is that we have a real strategy for action to make zero-hour contracts a thing of the past. If the trade unions organised zero-hour contract staff, including through strike action, we could have a united fight to win decent contracts, with guaranteed hours, on a living wage for all.

24-hour general strike

Youth Fight for Jobs is joining the National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC on Sunday 8 September in Bournemouth to call on the trade unions to name the day for a 24-hour general strike to stop austerity.

A 24-hour general strike could unite all workers against the Con-Dem cuts. It could inspire even currently non-unionised, zero-hour contract staff at Sports Direct and other companies to fight back too.

The demands of such general action should include a decent job with a proper contract for all those able to work. This would win overwhelming support from ordinary working-class people, who don't want to see another 'lost generation' thrown on the scrapheap.

For more details on the NSSN lobby of the TUC see or email

The Socialist Feature: End Zero-Hour Contracts Now!

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 14 August 2013:

Socialist Party campaigns

Zero tolerance for zero-hours!

End zero-hour contracts now!

Socialist Party editorial

A tale of two Britains

Socialist Party news and analysis

Beware a recovery!

Met finally apologise for G20 death

London Olympics legacy - one year on

Football and big business: time to reclaim the game

Socialist Party subs appeal

Them & Us

Socialist Party events

Come to the Socialist Party Summer Camp

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Hunt attacks NHS staff and patients

Save Our Hospital!

Protest at the Tory Conference in Manchester

International socialist news and analysis

Tunisia: Mobilise to bring down the government

South Africa: Limpopo WASP launch

Seattle: Socialist challenge to corporate Democrats

Socialist Party workplace news

Defend the Four: Tribunal compensation award to Unison activists

Postal workers ballot for action

On your bike, Serco

Swansea council pay attacks angers workers

Anti-Bedroom Tax

Winning a reprieve from the bedroom tax

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Building TUSC in Caerphilly

Socialist Party comments and reviews

Reflections and sycophancy: Kinnock versus the socialist Liverpool council

The Mill: A change from the usual TV

Successes, failures and stalemates: A week in the life of a trade union rep


Home   |   The Socialist 14 August 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:

Zero-hour contracts:

triangleSainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for 10 with no strings!

triangleAmy Murphy for Usdaw president - vote for a fighting and democratic union

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

triangleCapitalism and human progress

triangleUsdaw elections announced - fight for a left leadership, vote for Amy Murphy


triangleSchool strikes against academy management

triangleUCU strike: staff and students unite to continue pensions fight after magnificent 14 days of action

triangleWest Virginia teachers' strike victory

triangleSpain: millions on streets against sexism and capitalist oppression


triangleUS school shootings: student walkouts challenge establishment

triangleTamil youth march for justice

triangleSouthampton Socialist Party: Solidarity with the revolt of workers and youth in Iran

General strike:

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: We're all under attack - TUC call a general strike

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907


triangleBristol South Socialist Party: How can workers' jobs be protected?

Youth Fight for Jobs:

triangleJarrow March: an inspiring show of solidarity between workers and youth

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



NHS pay: Reject the Tories' divide and rule offer



Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit



Passing the council cuts test


Them & Us

Them & us



Cuts harm kids' health



The Blairites are NHS privatisers - to save it means sacking them



Hands off free school meals!



Russia, spies and nerve agents



Zero new homes 'affordable' in Blairite Manchester



Spring Statement 2018: Tory austerity staggers on despite economic and political weakness


What we saw

What we saw



Sainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for 10 with no strings!



Profits up Wages down



Determined UCU strikers: We're out to win!



Capitalism oppresses women - fight for socialism!

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018