UCU response to Labour's zero-hour contracts plans

9 September 2013 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU today welcomed the Labour Party's move to deal with controversial zero-hour contracts. The union said it was pleased Labour leader Ed Miliband recognised that any flexible element of the contracts favoured employers, and workers were being exploited.

Last week UCU released a report that highlighted the prevalence of zero-hour contracts in colleges and universities. It found that 61% of further education colleges have teaching staff on zero-hour contracts and 53% of UK universities use them. According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, a quarter (27%) of companies use zero-hour contracts. More on that report here
The union said it hoped to quiz Mr Miliband in more detail about his plans after he addresses delegates at the TUC Congress in Bournemouth tomorrow morning. Elements of that speech were trailed this morning, promising to deal with zero-hour contracts.
UCU president, Simon Renton, said: "We are very pleased that the Labour Party is taking the toxic issue of zero-hour contracts seriously. We would like a commitment from Ed Miliband that if he becomes prime minister he will legislate to outlaw the kind of exploitation we are currently witnessing and not simply try and implement some sort of voluntary code.
'It is encouraging Ed Miliband has recognised that employers cannot hide behind the excuse of flexibility on this issue. Flexibility for a few is no excuse when put alongside the exploitation of the many.
'Our recent report shines a light on the murky world of the casualised economy. As well as zero-hour contracts, there are other elements of casualisation that also have a debilitating effect on job security and it is time politicians acted to protect the most vulnerable workers in our society.'