Exploitative zero-hour contracts have rocketed in the north east of England in recent years, new TUC research reveals.
Two thirds of all the new jobs created in the region since 2011 have been insecure roles, a TUC Northern region study released this week found.
Between 2011 and 2016 employment in the north east grew by 60,000. However, the TUC analysis showed that 40,000 of the new roles created were zero hour contract jobs that offer no guaranteed hours or employment rights.
The TUC estimates that 124,000 people in the North East now work in an insecure job, compared to 84,000 in 2011.
TUC regional secretary Beth Farhat said, “Insecure working in north east England has shot up in recent years. People need jobs they can live on. But if you don’t know how much work you will have from one day to the next, making ends meet can be a nightmare.
“We need to keep the pressure up on government to improve protections for working people. Every day unions expose bad working conditions and win important victories for workers across the country.”
Unite north east, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary, Karen Reay, said the increase in zero hour contracts in the region are a consequence of the Tories’ attacks on working people and failed economic policies.
“It’s no surprise that the explosion of insecure zero hours work began soon after the Tories took power in 2010. On top of crippling cuts to public services and the welfare system, the Conservatives have presided over an increasingly exploitative labour market,” Reay said.
“Thousands of people are now trapped in low paid jobs that deny them proper employment rights such as holiday or sick pay. These are jobs that leave staff at the whim of bosses who may or may not decide to give them enough hours, where the threat of not being able to earn enough money to put food on the table or keep a roof over their families’ heads is all too real.”
Reay said the government should look to New Zealand, which banned zero hour contracts last year, as an example of how to tackle insecure work.
She said, “The north east, already struggling from declines in manufacturing and heavy industry, has been hit particularly hard by the rise of insecure work and if Theresa May truly means to keep her promise of helping working people she would move to ban zero hour contracts. There’s absolutely no reason for Britain not to follow the lead of New Zealand and outlaw them completely.”