‘Zero hours’ protest planned today in Sheffield

Vince Cable
Vince Cable
4
Have your say

A protest about ‘zero hour’ contracts where staff are not guaranteed a set number of working hours was due to take place in Sheffield today.

Members of campaign group Youth Fight For Jobs were due outside the McDonald’s restaurant on High Street at 11.30am.

Chaz Lockett, group spokesman, said: “The protest is part of our ‘Sick Of Your Boss’ campaign against attacks on the rights of workers. We will be handing out leaflets, talking to staff, and appealing to members of the public to join our campaign and sign petitions.

“Over the past week, the extent of zero hour contracts in the UK has become clear – these are contracts which tie workers to a company, but do not guarantee any amount of work.

“This means workers, most of them young people, can be called in at short notice, and often receive only a few hours’ work per week, usually on minimum wage.

“Some companies such as McDonald’s and Sports Direct have been revealed to use these contracts as a matter of course, for as many as 90 per cent of their staff.

“This has created massive insecurity under the guise of ‘flexibility’, allowing companies to rake in greater and greater profits while exploiting their workforces.”

Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has said his party may ban ‘zero hours’ contracts if it wins the next election.

Business Secretary Vince Cable is currently leading a review of the contracts and whether there should be a crackdown on their use.

There is concern that axing them entirely may hit the number of part-time jobs available for groups such as students who work part-time in supermarkets, bars and restaurants.

Mr Cable said ‘in many cases the level of flexibility offered’ by the contracts suited employees.

He said: “It can work for the worker as well as the employer.”

But trade unions want the contracts to be banned.