Call for ban on zero-hours contracts

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A GROUP of Hartlepool councillors are calling on the authority to act on zero hours contracts which leave workers open to being exploited.

Hart councillor David Riddle, of the Putting Hartlepool First Party, has submitted a motion to the council for it to lead by example and carry out a review of all staff and contractors who may be employed on the contracts.

Councillor Riddle said: “The number of people on zero hours contracts has significantly increased in recent years.

“It makes it very difficult for households to plan a budget from month to month or even week to week.

“Families are then faced with impossible choices concerning bills, buying food and just keeping a roof over their heads.”

The union Unite says zero hours contracts are on the rise nationwide having almost doubled in the last five years.

The latest data shows around 1.4 million people are now employed on the contracts, but the union adds the real figure may be up to 2.7 million.

Unite says the contracts mean workers have no guaranteed weekly hours or income, and are only being paid for the hours they do work.

Workers do not get the benefits such as holiday pay, pensions and being free to work for other employers.

Coun Riddle added: “As a ward councillor, it’s impossible for me to ban zero hour contracts.

“That would be a decision for the Government. However, we in Hartlepool can lead by example and ensure as many people as possible within our town are protected.

“The contracts need to provide more safety and assurance for the employee than is currently the case.”
The motion will be debated by councillors at a Full Council meeting, on Thursday, February 5.

It calls for a review of all Hartlepool council employees, contractors, subcontractors and organisations who have gained council tenders or money who are on zero hours contracts.

The motion also asks the council to implement six key principles within six months.

They include workers not having to be available outside contracted hours, have a right to compensation if shifts are cancelled at short notice and having the right to ask for a minimum amount of work after six months.