Zero hour workers are paid £4 an hour less on average and more likely to work at night, research released as part of Heart Unions week shows.
In response to the shocking analysis, which found that workers on zero hour contracts are twice as likely to work night shifts than other workers, Unite reiterated its demand that they be banned.
The TUC analysis shows that on a range of key measures, zero hour workers are having a tougher time than those in secure employment.
Not only are 23 per cent of people on zero hour contracts regularly working through the night – increasing their risk of cancer and heart disease – compared to just 10 per cent of the rest of the workforce, they are paid around a third less than other workers.
Zero hour workers also work less hours on average than those on regular contracts – 25 hours a week, compared to 36 hours – while 16 per cent of zero hour staff go entire weeks without work.
TUC polling shows that two-thirds of zero hour workers would prefer to be on permanent, secure contracts.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said, “The vast majority of people on zero hour contracts want out. The only flexibility offered to them is what’s good for employers.
“Zero hours workers regularly work through the night for low pay, putting their health at risk. And many face the constant uncertainty of not knowing when their next shift will come.”
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner called for zero hour contracts to be banned.
“The majority of people on zero hour contracts want job security, guaranteed hours and the same rights as other workers, but are left trying to eke out a living in low paid and insecure work,” Turner said.
“In sectors of our economy like hospitality exploitative insecure work is the business model of choice for too many employers.
“It’s time to make work pay and give people the job security they need to get on in life by following the lead of New Zealand and banning zero hour contracts.”
The research was released to coincide with Heart Unions week, which runs from 11 to 17 February and is a celebration of the work done by trade unions to support working people.