26 February 2015 - UK workers on zero-hours contracts
Almost 700,000 people in UK have zero-hours contract as main job
Phillip Inman (The Guardian)
Nearly 700,000 people are on zero-hours contracts in their main job - a rise of more than 100,000 on a year ago - according to new official figures.
The rise is likely to trigger renewed debate over the widespread use of contracts that offer no guarantee of hours and only those benefits guaranteed by law, such as holiday pay.
The Office for National Statistics said the number of people estimated to be employed on a zero-hours contract in their main job was 697,000, representing 2.3% of all people in employment. In the same period in 2013, the figure was 1.9% of all people in employment, or 586,000.
Connor d'Arcy (New Statesman)
In many ways, the growth of zero-hours contracts has symbolised the UK’s labour market since the downturn began: contributing to both stronger than expected employment figures but also rising job insecurity. One of the big question marks though has been whether they are solely a symptom of the recession and would start to disappear as the recovery strengthened, or if they are here to stay. New figures released by the ONS today suggest the evidence for the latter just got stronger.
The data come from two sources: one is based on the responses of employees with the other from employer surveys. The employee figures show 697,000 people reported being on a zero-hours contract in the final three months of 2014, up nearly a fifth from the corresponding period in 2013 (586,000). The total number from the employer survey is much higher, standing at 1.8 million ZHCs in August 2014 compared with 1.4 million in January 2014.
What explains the discrepancy? The employer data give the number of zero-hours contracts that provided any work in the previous fortnight rather than people on zero-hours contracts. The higher tally is likely to reflect the fact that many individuals have multiple ZHCs.
A necessary evil?
Andrew Trotman (The Telegraph)
Business groups have defended companies using zero-hours contracts, arguing that they have protected the UK from the high levels of unemployment seen on the continent.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI) both spoke out on Wednesday after figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that 697,000 people, or 2.3pc of the workforce, are on zero-hours contracts.
Use of the contracts, which do not guarantee working hours with a company, has become a key political issue in the run-up to the general election, with Labour leader Ed Miliband calling for them to be banned.
However, business groups said the flexibility the contracts offer workers and businesses is an asset to the UK economy.
Ben Chu (The Independent)
Is the number of people hired on zero-hours contracts increasing? It’s a difficult question to answer, using the latest statistics. Yes, the headline numbers are up over the past year, but the figures are based on surveys, and more people might now recognise the “zero hours” tag than in the past.
Still, the Office for National Statistics’ research does provide some important detail. These contracts are used much more frequently in some parts of the economy than others. Around 10 per cent of all firms use them. But in sectors such as catering and retail the rate rises above 50 per cent.
Big firms use them much more often. Half of companies with workforces of more than 250 use them, against 10 per cent of all firms. Women are more likely to be on zero-hours contracts than men. The young are also more likely to be employed on these terms. Most zero-hours workers are part-time.
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"26 February 2015 - UK workers on zero-hours contracts", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), février 2015. Consulté le 04/03/2024. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2015/26-february-2015-uk-workers-on-zero-hours-contracts