The Left seem to think they only have to spout the words “zero hour contracts” and they have shamed the right. Andrew Neil is flattening Lucy Powell on that subject right now on BBC Sunday Politics. Lucy is right that the number on zero hour contracts has risen, but fails to mention that the overall percentage of workers on zero hour contracts is tiny, only 3.1% of the total UK workforce. Toby Young puts it as low as 2.3%.
Research from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, shows a far more positive picture. Over 50% of workers on ZH contracts have similar work satisfaction to people in regular jobs.
More importantly, over half are happy having ZH contracts, and do not want more hours. Zero hour contracts particularly suit students and housewives. They often can turn down work if it doesn’t suit their schedule, flexibility is a plus.
Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, said: “The use of zero-hours contracts in the UK economy has been underestimated, oversimplified and in some cases, unfairly demonised. Our research shows that the majority of people employed on these contracts are satisfied with their jobs.
“However, we also recognise that there is a need to improve poor practice in the use of zero-hours contracts, for example the lack of notice many zero-hours staff receive when work is cancelled. If this is unavoidable then employers should at least provide some level of compensation. In addition, it seems that many employers and zero-hours staff are unaware of the employment rights people on these types of working arrangements may be entitled to.”
The truth is, ZH contracts are more of a blessing than a curse. This is another Labour crusade that does not stand up to scrutiny.