Are all zero hour contracts bad? Some employees and employers want flexibility

A:

Casual contracts already fill that gap for businesses. When you’re on a casual contract, you know you’re signing up for irregular and insecure work (and maybe that’s what you want at the time) and you have the option of opting out of shifts, resigning without much notice, etc. just as your employer does. Whereas if you’re on a zero-hour contract, your employer has complete control over your shifts and can drop you to zero hours without notice. The ban we are calling for would be on the use of zero-hours contracts which require employees to be available to their employer at any time, and to work exclusively for the employer but which guarantee zero minimum hours to the worker. It should not prevent an employer and employee agreeing on a flexible working arrangement, as long as it were fair to the worker.The Unite Union (which represents more than 7,000 fast food workers) National Director, Mike Treen says Zero-Hour Contracts make workers vulnerable to abuse as they became too nervous to speak out, for fear of having their hours reduced. Treen also says zero-hours contracts gave employers flexibility, but the amount of flexibility they actually needed was often exaggerated.  "It's not like they have huge swings or anything. They know how much they are going to sell on any particular day of the week during the year.  "We don't expect everybody to have guaranteed hours but 80 per cent of the crew should be able to have it."


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