Business groups have blasted Labour’s plans to ban zero hours contracts as unnecessary and damaging.
Ed Miliband will today set out his party’s proposals to ban the “exploitative” contracts. The next Labour government is to introduce early legislation to ban zero hours contracts for employees who are in practice working regular hours. The new legal right to a regular contract will apply to workers after 12 weeks in a role.
Miliband cited figures showing there are now three times as many people on zero hours contracts as there were when the current government came to power, including a 20 per cent increase in the last year alone. This adds up to a total of 1.8m work contracts without guaranteed hours.
He referred to Jeremy Paxman’s interview with the Prime Minister last week, during which David Cameron admitted he could not live on a zero hours contract. “Well, I say, if it’s not good enough for him, it’s not good enough for you,” said Miliband. “And it’s not good enough for Britain either.”
But Christian May, of the Institute of Directors, said Labour’s plans “go too far”. “They are unnecessary and potentially damaging,” he said.
John Cridland, head of the CBI, said: “The UK’s flexible jobs market has given us an employment rate that is the envy of other countries, so proposals to limit flexible contracts to 12 weeks are wide of the mark.”
Meanwhile, the Tories said zero hours contracts account for just one in 50 jobs in the UK economy, and added that the government has “already banned the abusive ones”.