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Insecure work and underemployment must be tackled – Usdaw tells the TUC

Date: 11 September 2017 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has today, at the annual Trade Union Congress in Brighton, called for action to tackle the growing problems of insecure work and underemployment.

Speaking to delegates at the TUC, Paddy Lillis – Usdaw Deputy General Secretary said: “We hear so much in the press about the ‘strong’ jobs market and record low unemployment, but it is all too clear that for too many people this work does not pay. We know from talking to our members, from hearing the stories of workers forced to rely on food banks, from witnessing the rise of child poverty among working families and seeing people holding down multiple jobs and still being unable to make ends meet that the system is broken.

“It’s no good having an employment contract, if that contract does not guarantee proper hours of work. The misuse of short-hours contracts, zero-hours contracts, bogus self-employment and agency contracts is rife.

“Part time work can be a good solution for some workers, helping them to juggle work with their other needs. However, we know that there are 2.6 million part-time workers who want longer hours. Combine this with the 1.7 million workers on zero hours contracts and many more on insecure agency contracts. In total, around 15 percent of the workforce do not have secure employment.

“It is our duty to tackle this injustice head on. It should be a worker’s right to have a contract that reflects the hours they work. All too often, we see workers are beholden to the whims of bad management, who use the threat of a reduction in hours and a reduction in pay to bully their workforce.

“Usdaw wholeheartedly supports the call for the TUC to drive forward the issues faced by workers with insecure employment into the limelight. We look forward to a significant campaign focussed on tackling the issues of insecure employment.”

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 20% in the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers