Labour MPs hiring workers on zero-hour contracts

May 16, 2014 11:46 am

Update: An insider tells us that these figures come from IPSA, and are of casual contracts – which includes those who are on hourly rates, even if they have regular hours. While IPSA apparently do not have the actual number of employees on zero-hour contracts, it is “expected to be very few” and the belief is that the majority of casual contracts are due to maternity and sickness cover, or people working on special projects. But it would still be comforting to know that Labour are trying to find out how many MPs use zero-hours – and run a strict policy on ensuring outsourced staff do not have to work on them either.

This morning’s Mirror reports that there are 151 people currently employed by MPs on zero-hour contracts – including 62 hired by Labour MPs.

Zero-hour contracts are not illegal, nor has Ed Miliband’s recent pledges on the subject gone so far as to support banning them, but this could cause some embarrassment for the Party.

Miliband wants to tackle the work abuses that surround  zero-hour contracts, by introducing proposals such as employees having the right to demand a fixed hours contract after six months and automatically receiving one after a year (unless the employee opts out). While there are plenty of students who work part time in MPs’ offices who might benefit from flexible contracts, Labour should be keen to find out which members are employing people on zero-hours and force them to justify their decision.

Steve Turner, from Unite, said:

“Parliament passed the laws that are supposed to protect pay and conditions – our MPs ought to be upholding them, setting a high standard for employers.

“We are calling on those MPs using zero-hours contracts to move their staff on to secure contracts immediately.”

These contracts should only be used at the request of the worker. Otherwise, Labour risk looking both hypocritical and worse, like they are willing to exploit their own staff.

  • volcanopete

    I was amazed to read the Unite branch representing HoC staff, did not even have formal recognition from MPs,some of whom are backed by Unite.
    These day-to-day matters that all unions have to counter such as zero-hours contracts should be the subject of discussions and negotiations with the collective employer but this is impossible if the union representing parliamentary staff are not recognised.

    • Doug Smith

      Today’s Labour Party doesn’t like trade unions, that’s why Labour is ending the collective link with unions.

      As Kevin Maguire, Associate Editor of the Daily Mirror wrote a few weeks ago: “It’s time for the trade unions to march proudly out of Labour’s front door instead of being slowly bundled out of the back.”

      • treborc1

        It’s to costly our leaders would find it extremely hard to live on the wages they get from the Unions alone, Not to many Bob Crows in Union these days, a nice little pay packet from being on some committee keeps the bailiffs away. How would you like to live on £175,000 a year.

  • http://thesavagemanifesto.blogspot.com Savage Manifesto

    Miliband hasn’t “gone so far as to support banning them”?

    “@Ed_Miliband A passenger was walking through the train & stopped to ask me what we’re going to do about exploitative zero-hour contracts: we’ll ban them.” (12th May)

    Of course that’s just ‘exploitative’ contracts… Will it be Ed himself determining what’s exploitative and what’s not?

    • PoundInYourPocket

      If the poilicy is just to ban “exploitative” ZHC’s that will be matched by the Tories who are already talking about removing any “exclusivity” clauses. Ed’s policy needs to go much further to avoid being simply matched by the Tories. Outright ban required. People can always just revert back to Casual Worker contracts as before if part-time or casual workers are required.

  • PaulBurgin

    While it is illegal, and Ed Miliband has not publicly supported banning them, they are immoral in some respects, and many Labour supporters and members are against them in general, for good reason!

  • MonkeyBot5000

    The more flexible you are, the easier you are to bend over and shaft.

    • Steve Stubbs

      LOL!

  • Monkey_Bach

    Zero hour contracts from zero credibility MPs. Eeek.

  • Paolo Caldato

    “Labour risk looking both hypocritical and worse”
    That ship has SAILED, my friend. Did you not notice the 2010 election?

  • DaveAboard

    These MPs need to be named and, in my view, should then be deselected by their CLP. This is no different to Clegg’s gaffe on unpaid parliamentary interns.

    Sometimes I really do wonder if the Labour Party is going out of its way to lose the next election.

  • EricBC

    ”But it would still be comforting to know that Labour are trying to find out how many MPs use zero-hours ”

    What is this ”Labour” that you talk of? Is it not the MP’s and their staff? Are they not part of this thing we call ”Labour”?

  • swatnan

    Its a disgrace, when even Labour MPs are doing it.
    THey will say that it is easier to hire and fire at will, but I don’t buy that.

  • Meg Hillier

    I wouldn’t read too much into this. I have no zero hours contracts but have to creat a contract for every casual member of staff. Have discover IPSA was still counting someone who only worked 2 weeks full time nearly a year ago covering a vacancy between appointments. So IPSA does not record zero hours. This should have been made clearer in the FoI response.

  • JoeDM

    One employee’s zero hours contract is another’s opportunity for a flexible lifestyle.

  • george

    just another facet of tribal hypocrisy – both sides guilty, neither side seems willing to be open and honest … no wonder the voting public see politicians and the main parties as corrupt liars.

  • ldvaux

    Some people want that kind of contract. As a supply teacher I chose to take that kind of job. Semi retired people, students and other groups in society may want that choice and flexibility. I do not want an outright ban. Miliband is definitely right to remove the exploitative element of them and there is nothing hypocritical in that. Whether any of this 150 people employed by Labour members are in exploitative contracts is yet to be revealed however.

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