Labour MEPs: EU must act to end exploitative zero-hour contracts
04 June 2018
Labour MEPs supported a resolution in the European Parliament last week which called for tougher legislation to protect people in insecure work. In supporting these calls, Labour MEPs warned the EU must also act to end exploitative ‘zero-hour’ contracts. The recent rise of zero-hour contracts in the UK has been mirrored throughout the EU – the Parliament’s Petitions Committee had received around 80 petitions on this very issue from countries right across Europe.
The resolution adopted by MEPs urged the European Commission and EU countries to tackle exploitative employment practices in both the public and private sectors. It also presses for the EU’s Working Time Directive to be applied to zero-hour contracts to help ensure these workers are entitled to the same rights to rest periods and maximum working hours. This is important as many workers in the UK stuck on these contracts are often not entitled to same benefits to sick pay, maternity leave or redundancy rights as permanent employees.
Zero-hour contracts are an abusive form of employment, with workers unsure of what hours they will be asked to work or if they will be given any hours at all. In the UK general election last year, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party manifesto committed to banning zero-hour contracts and Labour MEPs are working to raise these calls at an EU level too.