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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 September 2015

Workers racked by 19% rise in zero-hour contracts

Daniel Smart, zero-hour contract worker

Over the last year, the number of workers on zero-hour contracts has increased by almost a fifth. Many workers, particularly young people, lead a life not knowing how much work they will get from each week to the next.

New figures by the Office for National Statistics show a rise in the precarious contracts from 624,000 to 744,000 last year. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The Trade Union Congress estimates there are a further 820,000 people 'underemployed' - not getting enough hours.

Anxiety

Like many, I have experienced the anxiety of life on a zero-hour contract. Shifts were cancelled by text at the last moment. I have been forced to wait for emails saying a few hours here and there are available on a 'first come, first served' basis.

Worker can be pitted against worker in a desperate competition for shifts. Is this not the modern-day equivalent of waiting outside the factory gates hoping to be picked for a day's work?

Perhaps the Tories' three million apprenticeships promised over the next five years will give some consolation to young workers? It looks unlikely when these are overwhelmingly in low-skilled jobs - such as street cleaners and warehouse assistants.

This is a thinly veiled attempt to allow employers to undermine wages whilst massaging unemployment figures. Bosses can legally pay apprentices as little as 2.73 an hour.

The Socialist Party fights for guaranteed hours for all workers who want them. We also campaign for investment in useful jobs - and a 10 an hour minimum wage now, with no exceptions.

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In The Socialist 9 September 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Huge support for Corbyn: now build austerity fightback

Solidarity with refugees - Defend the right to asylum

125,000 renters abused by idle parasite landlords

Heartless Tories chop funds for life-extending cancer drugs

Tories allow bosses to keep exploiting workers at below the minimum wage

Them & Us

Bromyard Community Hospital victory


International socialist news and analysis

Cuba at a crossroads

International news in brief


Socialist Party features

How students can fight debt, cuts and sell-offs

Children suffer as the cuts deepen


Workplace news and analysis

Lobby the trade union leaders this Sunday!

Nominate a fighting socialist for Unison general secretary

Most important TUC Congress for decades

Pizza express tips victory

Buses fightback works in Sheffield

Great support for bus strike

Workplace news in brief

Fight against blacklisting in Liverpool


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Film Review: Stonewall

Why I joined the Socialist Party

"NHS saved my life"


 

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