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Consultation to tackle zero-hours contract abuse

Business secretary Vince Cable is to pledge the end of abuse of zero-hours contracts, as he addresses the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow today.

Employers argue the contracts boost flexibility and help to reduce unemployment, but a number of people have raised concerns about the use of zero-hours. Labour leader Ed Miliband has vowed to crack down on the contracts if he wins the next election.

Cable will launch a consultation, to report in the new year, on how to tackle abuse, particularly where employers don’t offer guaranteed hours but prevent employees from working for anyone else.

The Low Pay Commission will also be asked to investigate what economic conditions would be needed for the minimum wage to rise more quickly.

Cable will say: “It is clear that there are abuses in the system, especially around the issue of exclusivity which some employers are demanding from workers on these contracts. I am determined to make sure people are paid and treated fairly, while helping to keep people employed in these delicate economic times.”

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: “If the Government is serious about ending abusive zero-hours, then it must legislate to stop exploitative employers. It's time for action rather than more consultations.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

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Sandra Daniells   16/09/2013 at 15:11

My son and I between us run five businesses, in the care, and the leisure sectors. My other son is a Nursery School worker and has been on zero hours contracts in the past. It would be devastating to us if we could not employ staff on zero hours, or 'Bank' staff, as I am sure many small business owners will tell you.If we had the hours to offer permanently we would offer them, but often there are reasons why you need extra staff to bolster up the regulars or fill in for sick time, or when you get extra busy etc. indeed many employees actually seek to work Bank Hours as and when required. So why stop it? Minimum wage, holidays, the great difficulties in hiring and especially firing staff had made running a business a nightmare. Please don't restrict us any further, would you rather have some jobs or no jobs? Stopping Bank hours and forcing us to employ staff we don't need, because we only need them sometimes on an unpredictable basis will most certainly result in closures of some small businesses. please stop interfering if you want the economy to grow.

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