Labour leader Ed Miliband will tomorrow set out Labour’s plan to ban exploitative zero hours contract. The next Labour government will introduce early legislation to ban zero hours contracts for employees who are in practice working regular hours. This new legal right to a regular contract will apply to workers after just 12 weeks. Speaking at a People’s Question Time event in Yorkshire, Ed Miliband will highlight how David Cameron had boasted last week that zero hours contracts were increasing because more people were choosing them - even though the Prime Minister admitted he couldn’t live on one himself.
He will make a personal commitment that legislation to ban zero hours contracts will be in the next government’s first Queen’s Speech and prioritised in the parliamentary timetable. And he will describe how too many firms are being dragged into a race to the bottom on wages and conditions that is stopping the economic recovery reaching working families - and failing Britain. Ed Miliband will say zero hours contracts have become a symbol of a low-wage, low skill, economy where stagnant wages and falling levels of productivity have been key factors in this Government’s failure to meet its deficit reduction targets. The measure significantly strengthens Labour’s existing policy which previously proposed offering protection to employees who had done regular hours for 12 months.
Ed Miliband is expected to say: "The problem of zero hours contracts is at the heart of the key question in this election: who does our country work for? Does it work just for the rich and the powerful? Or does it work for working people - the people looking for a job, trying to find enough money to support a family, to make ends meet? The explosion of zero hours contracts tells us the answer to that question in Britain right now. There are now three times as many people on zero hours contracts as there were when this government came to power; a 20 per cent increase in the last year alone, 1.8 million work contracts without guaranteed hours."
Mr Miliband is also expected to say: "It is leaving people without a reliable income, not knowing from one day to the next how much work will be coming in, unable to plan from one week to the next. And what’s really worrying is that David Cameron isn’t worried. Why should he? It’s his plan for the economy. Do you remember what he told Jeremy Paxman last week when he was asked why are more and more people trapped on zero hours contracts? He didn’t say it was because low paid, low skilled work is booming on his watch. No, he said it was because people really want to be on them.
Continuing Mr Miliband also is expected to say: "He said people really want to be uncertain – about whether they’ll be able to pay their energy bill or not. He said people really want to be insecure – not knowing how much food they’re going to be able to put on their family’s table. He said people really want to be unsure – whether or not they’ll need to arrange child care on any given day. Then he admitted he couldn’t live on one himself. Well, I say, if it’s not good enough for him, it’s not good enough for you. And it’s not good enough for Britain either. These zero hours contracts have become a symbol of the Tories’ failing economy with stagnant wages and falling productivity leaving a recovery which isn’t reaching your front door and a deficit still at Downing Street’s door."
Mr Miliband is expected to conclude by saying: "Today I can announce that in our first year of government after the election, Labour will legislate for a new principle: if you are working regularly, you have a legal right to a regular contract. We will give working people more control of their working lives, we’re going to put an end to exploitative zero hours contracts. Here’s how: the next Labour Government will ban zero hours contracts for employees who are in practice working regular hours. This absolute new legal right to a regular contract will apply to workers after just 12 weeks."