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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 May 2014

We can scrap zero-hour contracts

Labour's hollow promises not enough

The latest figures show up to 2.7 million people are employed on zero-hour contracts. More than one in ten employers now uses them. The real figures could be even higher. And now jobseekers can lose their meagre benefits for up to three years through the cruel sanctions system if they refuse to take a zero-hour contract job.

Josh Asker, Southampton Socialist Party, calls for young people and trade unions to fight back in the workplaces and at the ballot box.

Ask any young person if they have experienced the Tories' so-called recovery and they will laugh. If we are 'lucky' enough to be employed we face pressure from managers and the constant threat of joining our friends on the unemployment scrapheap. The burden of low-pay is driving workers to food banks and rip-off payday lenders.

The proliferation of zero-hour contracts has meant that even people in employment are unable to guarantee when the next pay cheque is coming. One Southampton retail employer decides who gets to earn based solely on their till speed from the previous week.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has been in the news condemning the use of zero-hour contracts. But dozens of Labour councils employ thousands of workers in this way.

In fact the Labour council in North Lanarkshire, where Miliband claimed he would crack down on zero-hours, employs 800 people on them! Labour's watered down and hollow promises aren't enough for us.

Talk is not enough when some employers almost exclusively use zero-hour contracts. One trade union stands out as having taken a big step towards organising young workers to fight back. The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union organised its members at the Hovis factory in Wigan in a two-week strike against zero-hour contracts and won.

Working with Youth Fight for Jobs and others, they are now branching out into the fast food industry as part of the Fast Food Rights (FFR) campaign, with another day of action planned for 15 May.

Some of the young people active in FFR across the country are taking their fight to the ballot box and supporting or standing as one of the 561 Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates on 22 May. They will be standing on a platform of no job losses, for a living wage and an end to zero-hour contracts with full employment rights from day one of the job.

All TUSC's candidates are 100% pro-working class and 100% against zero-hour contracts. All unions and their members should break the Labour link, join the RMT transport union in TUSC, taking steps towards building a party for the working class.

Join the Fast Food Rights day of action

15 May, events across the country

See for latest details

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 7 May 2014:

Socialist Party election campaigning

Fight cuts, Back strikes, Vote TUSC

More local news coverage for TUSC, but BBC downplays council elections

Join the TUSC Thunderclap

Defend the right to campaign

Why I'm standing for TUSC

Housing crisis: TUSC candidates demand socialist policies

Election appeal 2014 - 4,278 raised so far

Socialist Party feature

Prepare for almighty battles against austerity

International socialist news and analysis

$15: Seattle shows what a movement can achieve

Socialist Party news and analysis

Schools - Would things get better under Labour?

Private sector rents and Labour

Care homes abuse scandals

Pfizer takeover bid

Them & Us

Socialist Party workplace news

RMT forces London Underground to back down

Striking against Land Registry cuts

Care UK workers start 14 days of strike action

CWU conference - time to build Broad Left

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

We can scrap zero-hour contracts

No support for zero-hour contracts

RMT turns out in strength for May Day march

May Day rallies in Swansea and Ipswich

Battling the cuts: when push comes to shove

Freedom riders on a storm

Leeds protest against privatisation of student loans


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