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Zero hour contract workers need protection, says CSP

24 April 2014 - 3:55pm

The CSP has called for legal protection for employees who are working on zero hour contracts.


The CSP and other unions are arguing for legal protection for those on zero hours contracts

It has rejected proposals for a voluntary code outlined in the latest government 12-week consultation on zero hours contracts.

The consultation, led by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS), closed last month.

The society also criticised the second stage of the consultation for being too narrowly focused. The process failed to address the negative experiences of CSP members, particularly junior physios, who find themselves working long-term as bank staff, says the CSP.

Bank working has become ‘part of a picture of workforce casualisation and this is not good for our members or patients,’ said CSP policy officer Tom Gill.

‘For some of our members the flexibility is useful, and for newly qualified physios it can be a foot in the door. But whereas in the past it would have rapidly led to a permanent post, now they may be doing bank work for several years. Overall it is a worse picture.’

Last summer the CSP carried out an information gathering exercise on members’ experiences of zero hours contracts which has informed its response.

CSP national officer Jess Belmonte said the exercise showed the wider impacts of this form of employment on members, including low staff morale and retention, working while unwell, and unsafe working.

The BIS consultation, which drew 36,000 responses, asked for views on two questions: The use of exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, which prevent people from working for other employers; and whether a voluntary code of practice would encourage more transparency.

‘The narrow focus on this consultation is really disappointing,’ said Ms Belmonte. ‘It ignores many of the issues that were raised by the CSP and TUC in the information gathering phase. Any changes that are introduced are unlikely to change our members’ experiences.’

The CSP, along with other unions, is arguing for legal protection for those on zero hours contracts.

‘A voluntary code of practice with no legal backing will do nothing to change the behaviour of unscrupulous employers,’ the CSP stated in its submission.

A report on the consultation will be published in due course, said a BIS spokesperson.

In the mean time, in response to an ARC 2014 motion, the CSP has committed to gathering further information on the scale and effect of zero hours contracts and producing guidance for members.  



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