Thursday, 17 October 2013

We need an economy that works for working people

Last night Tory and Lib Dem MPs voted down Labour's motion on zero hopurs contracts that would have helped tackle growing insecurity in employment. We need an economy that works for working people.

The government has failed to understand how zero hour contracts undermine ordinary people and that real action is needed to end exploitive zero-hours contracts.

Families in Haslingden and Hyndburn and across the country are facing the greatest cost of living crisis in a generation. Prices are increasing, wages are falling (for 39 of the last 40 months) and for many hard-working people there is deep concern over job insecurity.

One of the worst examples of this is the exploitive use of zero-hours contracts. I’ve spoken to people in Haslingden and Hyndburn who are employed on zero-hours contracts and they’ve told me of the struggle they and their families face on a daily basis.

According to recent estimates there could be as many as 1 million workers employed on zero-hours contracts - with a big increase since the Tory-led government took office - and they are now used in one in five workplaces.


The Tory-led government has failed to act on zero-hours contracts. It emerged that a ‘review’ of the issue initiated by Business Secretary Vince Cable earlier this year consisted of three officials spending part of their time “speaking informally” with stakeholders.

Zero-hours contracts mean insecurity and stress for too many families in Haslingden and Hyndburn. We can’t let this continue, which is why I voted  yesterday for an end to their exploitive use and for action to stop rising insecurity at work.

The Tory-led government has failed to act. According to recent estimates there could be as many as 1 million workers employed on zero-hours contracts - with a spike since the Tory-led government took office - and they are now used in one in five workplaces.

A Labour Government would ban employers from insisting zero-hours workers be available even when there is no guarantee of any work, stop zero-hours contracts that require workers to work exclusively for one business and end the misuse of zero-hours contracts where employees are in practice working regular hours over a sustained period.

Both employers and employees need flexibility but this shouldn’t mean people in Haslingden and Hyndburn lacking job security and having to be flexible about whether or not they can afford the weekly shop. We’ve got to put a stop to it and that is what Labour is determined to do.

Hard-working people should feel confident and secure at work; ending the exploitive use of zero-hours contracts is an integral part of achieving this.