The rise of the zero-hours contract must be deeply disturbing to all those with an interest in fair employment practices.
The arrangement is that an employee agrees to be available for work whenever required, but with no set number of hours or times of work specified. The employee is expected to be on-call at all times but is paid only for the number of hours that are actually worked.
There appears to be no pension scheme, no sickness cover, no holiday entitlement – no rights other than those laid down by health and safety regulations (which the government is trying to ditch) and the National Minimum Wage Act (also under threat from the Conservative-led government).
Also, the system is open to abuse by managers, who can use it to reward some employees (and the term is used in its loosest possible sense) with extra hours or punish others with…
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