Opposition Day — [7th Allotted Day] — Zero-hours Contracts

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:45 pm on 16th October 2013.

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Photo of Chuka Umunna Chuka Umunna Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 12:45 pm, 16th October 2013

I will give way shortly.

Secondly, what are the Government doing to the protections for working people in the workplace? They are watering them down left, right and centre. They have increased from one to two years the length of service required before someone can enforce their right not to be treated unfairly at work and they have introduced employment tribunal fees of £1,200. The Minister for Skills and Enterprise described that as a moderate charge, but for low-income workers it is the equivalent of several weeks’ pay. The Government have also reduced the consultation period for collective redundancy. I could go on.

Thirdly, what have the Government done on zero-hours contracts? They have done little, if anything at all. Has a full consultation and call for evidence been issued? No. To date, there has been none, despite promises at the Liberal Democrat conference by the Secretary of State to do so. Has the Office for National Statistics been asked to clarify how many of these contracts might be in use, given that research suggests there are far more than in the ONS estimates?