Rise in number of 'exploitative' zero-hours contracts condemned by UCU

2 September 2015 | last updated: 10 December 2015

The number of people on zero-hours contracts has risen to 744,000 in the second quarter of 2015, according to a report published today.


The latest analysis from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the period April to June 2015 shows that there are 120,000 more people on zero-hours contracts than there were in the same period of 2014. In total, 2.4% of employees are now on this type of contract.
The ONS report states that a quarter of education employers (25%) are using zero-hours contracts - a 10% rise from 2014. It also shows that over one third (36%) want to work longer hours, compared with just 12% of people on normal contracts.
UCU condemned the rise in zero-hours contracts, pointing to its own research which shows that two-fifths (42%) of university and college staff on casual contracts struggle to pay their bills and a third (34%) have had problems getting a mortgage.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'It is unacceptable that the number of zero-hours contracts is still rising- they are exploitative and damaging for staff. Our own research shows that many people on these contracts struggle to make ends meet, and can't plan for the future because they just don't know how many hours they'll get to work.
'These contracts offer no job security and restrict opportunities for people to progress in their careers. The flexibility which they offer employers is not a two-way street, and leads to greater uncertainty for employees. We need to reverse this trend and ensure that everyone who wants a proper contract with guaranteed hours can get one.'