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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 September 2015

Workers racked by 19% rise in zero-hour contracts

Daniel Smart, zero-hour contract worker

Over the last year, the number of workers on zero-hour contracts has increased by almost a fifth. Many workers, particularly young people, lead a life not knowing how much work they will get from each week to the next.

New figures by the Office for National Statistics show a rise in the precarious contracts from 624,000 to 744,000 last year. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The Trade Union Congress estimates there are a further 820,000 people 'underemployed' - not getting enough hours.

Anxiety

Like many, I have experienced the anxiety of life on a zero-hour contract. Shifts were cancelled by text at the last moment. I have been forced to wait for emails saying a few hours here and there are available on a 'first come, first served' basis.

Worker can be pitted against worker in a desperate competition for shifts. Is this not the modern-day equivalent of waiting outside the factory gates hoping to be picked for a day's work?

Perhaps the Tories' three million apprenticeships promised over the next five years will give some consolation to young workers? It looks unlikely when these are overwhelmingly in low-skilled jobs - such as street cleaners and warehouse assistants.

This is a thinly veiled attempt to allow employers to undermine wages whilst massaging unemployment figures. Bosses can legally pay apprentices as little as 2.73 an hour.

The Socialist Party fights for guaranteed hours for all workers who want them. We also campaign for investment in useful jobs - and a 10 an hour minimum wage now, with no exceptions.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 9 September 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Huge support for Corbyn: now build austerity fightback

Solidarity with refugees - Defend the right to asylum

125,000 renters abused by idle parasite landlords

Heartless Tories chop funds for life-extending cancer drugs

Tories allow bosses to keep exploiting workers at below the minimum wage

Them & Us

Bromyard Community Hospital victory


International socialist news and analysis

Cuba at a crossroads

International news in brief


Socialist Party features

How students can fight debt, cuts and sell-offs

Children suffer as the cuts deepen


Workplace news and analysis

Lobby the trade union leaders this Sunday!

Nominate a fighting socialist for Unison general secretary

Most important TUC Congress for decades

Pizza express tips victory

Buses fightback works in Sheffield

Great support for bus strike

Workplace news in brief

Fight against blacklisting in Liverpool


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Film Review: Stonewall

Why I joined the Socialist Party

"NHS saved my life"


 

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Related links:

Zero-hour contracts:

triangleLabour and the fight for a shorter working week

triangleWorkplace victory emboldens retail workers to get organised

triangleTrade union action can end low pay

triangleLaughable research denies low-pay scandal

triangleInterview with a shop worker

Workers:

triangleCouncil finance disaster: set emergency no-cuts budgets and fight for funds!

triangleProtect every job, nationalise don't subsidise

triangleCoordinated union struggle needed to save jobs and nationalise JCB

triangleFurlough: We are not 'all in the same boat'

Jobs:

triangleThe 'Lucas Plan'

triangleFight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan

triangleEnergy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant

Union:

trianglePCS pay claim: Vital work unrecognised

triangleEquity union general secretary election

Young people:

triangleYoung people who voted for Corbyn's manifesto will now ask... How can we win those ideas?

Young workers:

triangleCardiff Socialist Party: A socialist response to the coronavirus crisis

Trade union:

triangleWest Midlands trade union activists discuss the battle for safety on the front line

Minimum wage:

triangleUniversal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

Apprenticeships:

triangleThem & Us

Pay:

triangleReject the university employers' offer on pay, workload and casualisation

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