Zero-hours contracts double in south-west – women most affected

Number of zero hour and agency contracted workers has more than doubled in South West since 2011 to 145,000, new research from GMB union shows.

The number of zero hour and agency contracted workers in increased from 67,000 in 2011 to 145,000 (116%) – and is particularly pronounced among women (137%).

John Philips, GMB Regional Secretary said: “These figures lift the lid on the insecure reality of the modern world of work.

“Here on our own doorstep in the South West we are witnessing an epidemic of precarious work – and it is growing at a frightening rate among our women workers.h

“Hundreds of thousands of people are going to work either not knowing what their hours are, if they’ll be able to pay the bills, or what their long term prospects are. “We need a government that is prepared to take action to tackle the scourge of agency work and ban zero hour contracts as has been done in other countries.”

Employment figures for the three months to April showed that the number of workers claiming jobseekers or Universal Tax Credit was on the rise.In Devon, there were 4,585 people out of work – a rise of 200 on last year.
In Exeter, 915 were out of work – up by 45.The figures include people employed on few part-time hours who are in receipt of Universal Tax Credit.”