TUC report claims insecure work is becoming “the new normal”

MP Clive Lewis. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

MP Clive Lewis. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Waiters, care workers and education staff are among 660,000 more workers employed without guaranteed hours or basic employment rights in the past five years, according to the TUC.

A study by the organisation claimed the rise of 27% in so-called insecure work was being driven mainly by traditional industries rather than the new tech sector, with restaurant and pub waiting staff making up around a fifth of the increase.

Shadow business secretary and Norwich MP Clive Lewis said: 'One in 10 employees on insecure contracts means one in 10 employees wondering whether they'll be given enough hours each week to pay their rent, or be able to put food on the table if they fall ill.

'What's particularly worrying about this report is that it shows that insecure work isn't confined to a few new industries, but becoming common in traditional sectors as well.'

General secretary Frances O'Grady said insecurity at work was 'becoming the new normal for too many workers' in new and old industries, including the gig economy typified by companies like Uber.

She said: 'People need jobs they can live on and build a life around, but if you don't how much work you will have from one day to the next, making ends meet is a nightmare.

'How is a working parent supposed to plan childcare when they don't know the hours they'll be working? And how can it be right that in 2017, workers are at the mercy of bad bosses who can just take away all their hours or throw them off the job with no notice?

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'The rules that protect workers need to be dragged into the 21st century.'

The TUC estimated that one in 10 employees – more than 3m people – now work in insecure jobs, up from 2.4m in 2011.

A league table of industries where workers are most likely to face insecurity is headed by arts and entertainment, followed by domestic work, freight transport and clothes manufacturing.

A Business Department spokesman said: 'We are determined to ensure our employment rules keep up to date to reflect new ways of working, and that's why the government asked Matthew Taylor to conduct an independent review into modern working practices.'

What's your opinion of so-called insecure work or zero-hours contracts, as an employer or employee? Let us know – email bethany.whymark@archant.co.uk