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Toby says: “We have to end the rise of exploitive zero-hours contracts”

“Families in Chesterfield are facing the biggest cost-of-living crisis in a generation. Prices are increasing, wages are falling and many hard-working people are seeing rising insecurity at work.

TP interview in his office

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

Zero-hours contracts have gone from being a marginal, niche concept to becoming the norm in some areas and sectors under the Tory-led government. This week it emerged that the number of people employed on zero-hours contracts has trebled to 583,000 since David Cameron became Prime Minister.

That is a shocking legacy of his time in office.

The government has overseen a rising tide of insecurity at work and ministers have been using inaccurate figures which hugely underestimate how widespread they have become.

In August Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna wrote to the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority Chair to highlight concerns on zero-hours contracts. In response he admitted that the estimate of 250,000 employees on zero-hours contracts was “subject to the risk of an undercount” and asked the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to produce a new estimate, yet in October BIS Minister Jo Swinson cited the discredited 250,000 figure as the government’s estimate – less than half the ONS’ official new figure.

How can the government deal with the problem of zero-hours contracts when ministers can’t even grasp its scale? This is an appalling record from an out-of-touch and failing government.

Something has to be done to reduce the insecurity and stress caused by zero-hours contracts. That’s why Labour has announced plans to ban these contracts where they exploit people. Where the government has turned a blind eye, we will act.

The next Labour government will 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 these contracts where employees are in practice working regular hours.

Both employers and employees need flexibility but this shouldn’t mean people in Chesterfield lacking job security and having to be flexible about being able to afford the weekly shop.

Labour will always stand up for hard-working people. The next Labour government will tackle rising insecurity at work by ensuring that our town is properly equipped to earn its way out of the cost-of-living crisis.”

By Toby Perkins
Labour MP for Chesterfield

2 Responses to “Toby says: “We have to end the rise of exploitive zero-hours contracts””

  1. eleni evripidous says:

    I have a zero hour contract on minimum
    Wage with compass group
    Working for ministry of justice who pay tbe wages.
    i have had zero hours since just after Christmas 2013
    I started November 9 th didnt get a penny pay till
    23rd of december then only 738 pounds for 210 hours
    I didnt get a payslip untill January they paid me a further
    255 which id been under paid and on feb 1st 71
    pounds for my last two days 14hours .they also charged me
    272 pounds emergency tax even though I gave them all the
    correct paper work at the beginning. I have not been given
    This money back .i have to wait untill june….result of all this
    Is no hours no money. …no rent paid no council tax paid no gas
    Paid no water paid in fact nothing paid lots of debtmy home
    nearly taken away from me .I have sold most everything
    borrowed lots .been ill cant afford my prescription s need to go to opticians
    cant, and dentist cant afford.cant afford anything .I have been applying for jobs but so far I have been unsuccessful. …point is zero hours zero life

  2. Gary Jones says:

    I am self employed and work as an agent with several Zero Hour contracts. The initial pay for a job looks good, but when you take off fuel, insurance, mobile phone, internet, and a multitude of other expenses, then the tax man has his bite, my take home pay, per hour, is less than half the minimum wage. It is a an absolute nightmare being self-employed and on a zero hour contract.



I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF


I hold regular surgeries for my constituents.
Please call 01246 386286 or email to make a booking.

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