Join the fight against poverty pay and zero-hour contracts!

  • New Zealand bans zero hours
  • ‘Living wage’ lie starts April
Nick Hall

A recent change to law in New Zealand has outlawed zero-hour contracts. It is now essential for the same to happen here.

Meanwhile, the Tories’ new National ‘Living’ Wage comes into force 1 April. And yes, it is an April Fools’ Day trick. For a start, it is nothing close to a genuine living wage, which would allow workers to live comfortably without relying on benefits and borrowing. And it doesn’t even apply to under-25s!

Elitist Tories and big business Blairites tout nonsense to defend the undefendable. Zero-hour contracts are ‘practical for people’, workers ‘can choose when they want to work’, it’s ‘flexible work in the modern economy’. They hide the reality behind such contracts.

If you have to knuckle down and obey every unsafe or unfair practice for fear of losing your hours, how is this practical? If you turn down a shift and don’t get more hours in punishment, how is this working when you want? When you spend all your time waiting at home for your manager to call you for work, how is this flexible?

Zero-hour contracts are an exploitative practice, used to make unionisation and worker-friendly conditions more difficult to win.

It is these low-pay, low-rights, low-dignity jobs which the government claims are building the so-called economic recovery. They mean some companies are more profitable – off the back of Victorian labour practices.

It is self-evident that casual contracts and poverty pay have a negative effect on workers. No ability to have a work-life balance, or earn enough money to get through the week; no sick pay, no holiday time.

So long as the profit rolls in, capitalism doesn’t care. The bosses won’t just grant us better hours and wages – and neither will their politicians, the Tories and the Blairites.


The Socialist Party fights to end zero-hour contracts and poverty pay.

For flexible working on our terms, not the bosses’. Guaranteed hours and shift patterns, up to and including full-time work, for all who want it.

For a £10 an hour minimum wage now, with no exemptions for youth or training. This would be an important step towards a real living wage for all.

To win these improvements, and make sure they are implemented, we campaign to build a strong trade union movement. As the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) has shown, militant collective action can beat zero-hour contracts.

For fighting, democratic unions, and a mass workers’ party against austerity and privatisation.

Take action against poverty pay and zero-hour contracts!

Join food workers’ union BFAWU, campaign group Youth Fight for Jobs, and others in the Fast Food Rights campaign:

National ‘Living’ Wage protests, Friday 1 April

Show Osborne we’re not fooled by his ‘living wage’ lie. Demand £10 an hour now with no exceptions!

Global protest against low pay, Thursday 14 April

Join low-paid workers around the world in calling for a real living wage and the right to a union.

  • Times and locations will be confirmed nearer the day on and
  • Contact Youth Fight for Jobs for more info: text your name and postcode to 0774 937 9010, email [email protected], call 020 8558 7947
  • Facebook ‘Youth Fight for Jobs’, Twitter @youthfight4jobs.