Monthly Archives: December 2017

Two-thirds of zero-hours workers want jobs with guaranteed hours, TUC polling reveals

Two-thirds of zero-hours workers want jobs with guaranteed hours, TUC polling reveals

  • Only 25% say they prefer being on zero-hours contracts
  • More than half are thinking about quitting their jobs
  • Government should ban zero-hours contracts, says TUC

Most people on zero-hours contracts are not on them by choice, new TUC polling has revealed today (Monday).

The poll shows that two-thirds (66%) of zero-hours workers would rather have a contract with guaranteed hours. And just one in four zero-hours workers (25%) say they prefer being on zero-hours contracts.

The survey shows that the main reason people are on zero-hours contracts is because it is the only type of work available to them. More than half of zero-hours workers (53%) are thinking about quitting their job over the coming year.

Rights at work:

The polling found that many zero-hours workers are missing out on basic rights at work:

  • Only 1 in 8 (12%) say they get sick pay.
  • Only 1 in 14 (7%) would get redundancy pay.
  • Two-fifths (43%) say they don’t get holiday pay.
  • Half (47%) say they do not get written terms and conditions.
  • Just 1 in 20 (5%) say they have the right to a permanent contract after working the same hours consistently.

‘Last minute working’:

The poll also reveals the ‘last minute’ nature of zero-hours working. More than half (51%) of zero-hours workers have had shifts cancelled at less than 24 hours’ notice. And nearly three-quarters (73%) have been offered work at less than 24 hours’ notice.

Making ends meet:

Most zero-hours contract workers (59%) want more hours. The majority (54%) say they find it difficult to pay bills because they can’t get enough work. But any requests for additional shifts are as likely to be rejected as accepted.

Nearly two-fifths (38%) of zero-hours workers say they wouldn’t be able to cope with an unexpected bill of £500.

The TUC says the government should clamp down on zero-hours working in its forthcoming response to the Taylor Review.

The TUC estimates that zero-hours working costs the exchequer £1.9bn a year. This is because zero-hours contract workers earn significantly less than regular employees and therefore:

  • pay less tax,
  • pay less national insurance,
  • are more reliant on tax credits.

Median pay for a zero-hours worker is a third (£3.50) less an hour than for an average employee.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Most people on zero-hours contracts are not on them by choice. They’d much rather have the security of guaranteed hours and the same rights as employees.

“The so-called ‘flexibility’ these contracts offer is one-sided. Many zero-hours workers have shifts cancelled at the last minute. And lots are struggling to make ends meet.

“Now’s the time for the government to ban zero-hours contracts, as they have done in other countries like New Zealand. Every job should be a great job – but far too many workers in the UK are being treated like disposable labour.”

Stop and FIX Universal Credit day of action Saturday 02 December 2017 at 08:00-20:00

Nearest meeting to here: Central London at 14.00 in Costa Coffee: Oxford Street and turn left on to Great Portland Street.

This Christmas will be cancelled for thousands of families claiming the new benefit Universal Credit. Despite knowing Universal Credit causes serious problems for claimants, Theresa May’s Tory government is pressing ahead and rolling it out to thousands of people who will have to wait weeks to receive any money.

Claimants are descending into debt, relying on food banks, getting into rent arrears and in many cases getting evicted from their homes because of in- built problems with Universal Credit.

Take action NOW against Universal Credit

On Saturday 2 December 2017 Unite Community will be staging a national day of action against Universal Credit to send a message to the Tory government that they must STOP & FIX Universal Credit before rolling it out and further or thousands of families face a cold a hungry Christmas and the threat of losing their homes.

 

Who gets Universal Credit

Universal Credit replaces five benefits – child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance and working tax credit.

Seven million households will be affected, including over one million low paid part-time workers. For the first time ever people in work could face being sanctioned (having their benefits stopped) if they don’t prove to the job centre that they’re searching for better paid work or more hours.

What needs fixing

Unite is calling on the government to:

  • Abandon the long waits for claimants to receive money
  • Allow people to apply for Universal Credit in a jobcentre, not just online
  • Provide people with better help when the system fails them
  • Pay landlords directly to stop people getting into rent arrears and losing their homes
  • End benefit sanctions for in-work and out-of-work claimants
  • Stop payments going to one named member of a household
  • Make work pay – Universal Credit takes 63p in every £1 people earn

Tell us your story

Get in touch and tell us about your Universal Credit stories. Send your stories to Liane.groves@unitetheunion.org

Barnet UNISON issues warning to members about the Pension Service provided by Capita

“The final straw for me was when I was sent copies of letters issued on London Borough of Hounslow letterheads with London Borough of Hounslow email contact details to our members by Capita Pension Service in response to their own Barnet Pensions queries. Barnet UNISON has been monitoring an ongoing catalogue of serious errors made by the Capita Pensions Service operating out of Darlington. Not only am I unhappy with Capita, but also with the Council, which agreed this outsourcing model. This fragmented model, where you have two pay roll departments running out of Belfast and Carlisle and Pensions running out of Darlington was agreed by senior Barnet Council Officers in 2012. They have long gone and left us with a service in which we have no confidence. Our Pension, is our members’ single biggest financial saving for their future. It is also their deferred earnings. The Pension service our members’ are having to endure is unacceptable. My concern is that there is an “Emperor’s New Clothes” culture in our Council. No criticism is tolerated, well Barnet UNISON will not stay silent the service needs to be brought back in-house.”  John Burgess Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary

Full report on Barnet Unison site.

PCS Driving & Vehicle Standards Agency Strike: 4 and 5 December 2017

UPDATE: PCS report that the action is so solid at Barnet they will NOT need to picket tomorrow morning.

Strike action disrupts new driving tests – picket line from 7:30 am at the Barnet Driving Test Centre, Raydean House, 15 – 17 Western Parade, Barnet. EN5 1AD, solidarity visits greatly welcomed!

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will take 48 hour strike action on Monday 4th December ending at Midnight on the 5th December. This adds to the action short of a strike which began last week (23rd) in a dispute over the new driving test and also working patterns.

This action has already led to hundreds of tests being cancelled in the first week of the action.

In a perverse move DVSA has withdrawn overtime from striking workers and also imposed leave schedules meaning that an even greater backlog of thousands of tests is inevitable due to the imposed reductions in service. 

A ballot in October saw an 84% vote for strike action on a 70% turnout.

The strike action across the DVSA which begins on the 4th December will see up to 14,000 driving tests cancelled on the day the new driving test is launched.  

Other effects of the action include reduced roadside checks on vehicles, reduced enforcement checks on lorries and other vehicles coming into the U.K and a significant reduction of tachograph testing. 

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka commented

“PCS members in the DVSA have tried to negotiate around their concerns but the door has been slammed shut in their face. They now feel they have no alternative but to take industrial action to bring home to the public how damaging the DVSA proposals are. No one takes strike action lightly and we acknowledge the disruption to the driving tests for learner drivers keen to pass their test but the Government could avoid this strike even now at the 11th hour by agreeing to serious talks and withdrawing their most damaging proposals. I have today written to the Transport Minister Chris Grayling urging him to intervene.”

For information contact PCS National Press Officer Steve Battlemuch on 07515 605755 or via email steveb@pcs.org.uk

Other picket lines in the SERTUC region can be found here https://www.pcs.org.uk/campaigns/pcs-fighting-attacks-on-staff-in-dvsa/support-pcs-dvsa-picket-lines

Mark Serwotka is available for interviews on Monday 4th Dec from 1pm at Millbank studio.

The PCS letter to Chris Grayling is available here https://www.pcs.org.uk/sites/default/files/site_assets/campaigns/2017/Letter%20to%20Chris%20Grayling%20MP%2030%20november.pdf

PCS is one of the UK’s largest unions and represents civil and public servants in central government and in parts of government transferred to the private sector. Mark Serwotka is the general secretary and the president is Janice Godrich – on Twitter @janicegodrich

Follow PCS on Twitter @pcs_union