Families in Sittingbourne and Sheppey and across the country are facing the greatest cost of living crisis in a generation. Prices are increasing, wages are falling and for many hard-working people there is rising insecurity in the workplace.
One of the worst examples of this is the exploitive use of zero-hours contracts. As I speak to more and more residents they are telling me of the struggle they and their families face on a daily basis. But we need to find out the real impact on our lives and that is why we are launching a survey to find out what the real impact is on working people living in Sittingbourne and Sheppey.
According to recent estimates there could be as many as 1 million workers employed in the UK on zero-hours contracts, with a big increase since the Tory-led government took office. They are now used in one in five workplaces.
The Tory-led government has failed to act on zero-hours contracts. It emerged that a ‘review’ of the issue initiated by Business Secretary Vince Cable earlier this year consisted of three officials spending part of their time “speaking informally” with stakeholders.
Zero-hours contracts mean insecurity and stress for too many working people. We can’t let this continue, which is why Labour in Westminster voted for an end to their exploitive use and for action to stop rising insecurity at work.
A Labour Government would ban employers from insisting zero-hours workers be available even when there is no guarantee of any work; stop zero-hours contracts that require workers to work exclusively for one business and end the misuse of zero-hours contracts where employees are in practice working regular hours over a sustained period.
Both employers and employees need flexibility but this shouldn’t be at the expense of our rights at work and neither should people be forced to worry about whether or not they can afford the weekly shop. We’ve got to put a stop to it and that is what Labour is determined to do. We are going back in time with this Government in charge, back to a time when job security and a fair wage were beyond the reach of many in the workplace.
Hard-working people should feel confident and secure at work; ending this use of zero-hours contracts is an integral part of achieving this. Under this Tory Government we have seen rising insecurity at work and at a time when the cost of living crisis is hitting hard.
What is becoming clear is that zero-hours contracts are being used in a way that causes too much uncertainty in too many households in Sittingbourne and Sheppey. You can see our survey questions online by clicking the link at the bottom of this page or you can phone us on 01795 410 253 and we will call you back. Your answers will help us change things for the better.
Guy Nicholson, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sittingbourne and Sheppey