Responding to the government’s response to the Taylor Review on modern working practices, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This is a tiny step, but not the leap that is needed to ensure that millions of people in precarious work have the security of knowing from one week to the next whether they will be able to put food on the table and pay the bills.

“Giving people on zero hours contracts the right to ask for guaranteed hours will not stop bad bosses from exploiting workers. The government could and should take a leaf out of New Zealand’s book by banning them altogether.

“It is clear that the government still needs to accept that the best protection against worker abuse is strong enforcement coupled with strong trade unions. Ministers need to stop making it harder for us to do our job and accept too that the super-charging of low-wage, insecure work can be directly traced to the destructive deregulatory approach of the last 40 years.

“A strong economy and stable communities are not possible with a hire and fire workforce too frightened to take time off work to see a doctor as we tragically saw this week, or the Carillion workers left in limbo who after years of service get an email telling them they are sacked.

“The world of work is changing rapidly. But its insecurity is heightened because of bad behaviour by some powerful vested interests. It is right that the government looks at how we can support workers through these changes, but we also need direct action to construct an economy that works for all.”

ENDS

For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.

Notes to editors:

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.