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Research reveals huge underestimation in number of workers on zero-hours contracts

5 August 2013

Research released today suggests that there could be around one million workers in the UK on zero-hours contracts - a marked increase on recently revised estimations from the Office of National Statistics of just 250,000*.

The research from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) says that around two-fifths (38%) of workers on zero-hours contracts would like to work more hours and that young people (aged 18 to 24) or older people (aged 55 and above) are twice as likely to be on zero-hours contracts.

Industries in the hotel and catering sector are most likely to employ at least one person on a zero-hours contract, with education the sector second most likely to employ workers on zero-hours contracts.

UCU said zero-hours contracts denied staff the financial security or stability to operate on a month-to-month basis and denied students continuity with their teachers.

UCU president, Simon Renton, said: 'Without a guaranteed income, workers on zero-hours contracts are unable to make financial or employment plans on a year-to-year, or even month-to-month basis. This research shows that young people are particularly vulnerable to zero-hours contracts and a large number of workers do want more hours each week.

'Zero-hours contracts are the unacceptable underbelly of further and higher education as staff are denied full employee status and key employment rights. Students miss out on a lack of continuity and often receive reduced access to staff employed on minimal hours.'

UCU is currently collating its own data on the prevalence of zero-hours contracts in colleges and universities and hopes to release the findings in early August.

* ONS admits it underestimated number of zero-hours contracts, Guardian

Last updated: 10 December 2015