Press Release

SIPTU calls for zero-hour contracts study to inform essential legal changes

Date Released: 17 November 2014

SIPTU has said the outcome of a study announced today (Monday, 17th November) by Minister for Business and Employment, Ged Nash, into the prevalence of zero-hour and low-hour contracts must be used by the Government to end these exploitative employment conditions.

SIPTU Services Division Organiser, John King, said: “The use of zero-hour contracts is an extremely exploitative measure. Such contracts are used by unscrupulous employers against low-paid vulnerable workers who work in sectors and industries within the economy that do not have high trade union density or where workers do not enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining.

“Such contracts are a significant contributor to the level of in-work poverty and act as an effective poverty trap. Because workers in these industries are often in precarious employment and in many cases are not members of a trade union, there is no reliable evidence of both the prevalence and impact of zero-hour and low-hour contracts. This is why SIPTU has welcomed a study that will provide hard data on this phenomena”.

John King added: “SIPTU is of the belief that any private sector provider charged with undertaking this research will experience non co-operation from some sectors and industries. On that basis we urge the Minister to consider a key oversight role for the Low Pay Commission on this study.

“It is also not surprising that the sectors identified to be a particular focus for this study, retail and hospitality, are those in which employers are refusing to engage at the Labour Court for the establishment of a Joint Labour Committee to set fair pay rates for the workers employed in them”.


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