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TUC: ‘Right to request’ could mean close to zero action on zero-hours

Commenting on reports that the Taylor Review is set to recommend a right for zero-hours workers to “request” guaranteed hours, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“This could mean close to zero action on zero-hours contracts. A ‘right to request’ guaranteed hours from an exploitative boss is no right at all for many workers.

“To make a real change, we should turn this policy on its head. Everyone should be entitled to guaranteed hours, with a genuine choice for workers to opt-out, free from pressure from their boss. And anyone asked to work outside their contracted hours should be paid extra on top of their usual wage.

“All parties should be upfront about what is on offer to working people trapped in insecure work this election – and stop hiding behind a review that will report after voting is over.”

The TUC is concerned that:

  • Employers will simply be able to refuse any request for guaranteed hours, offering no clear evidence or criteria for refusal;
  • People on zero hours contracts will be reluctant to ask for fear of being victimised for the request – for example by not being offered future work;
  • If there is no right to be represented (for example by a union rep) when making the request, it will be far harder to successfully request guaranteed hours;
  • Existing “rights to request” (such as for flexible working) have a six-month qualifying period. Secure hours should be a right from day one of employment;
  • Existing “rights to request” have low awareness, meaning that many people who might benefit don’t know about it.

Notes to Editors:

  • The BBC has reported that the Taylor Review will recommend that zero-hours contract workers will only have a “right to request” guaranteed hours: www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40005502
  • All TUC press releases can be found at tuc.org.uk/media
  • TUC Press Office on Twitter: @tucnews

 

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