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.

Latest

  • Featured Miliband announces plans to scrap the Lords – and introduce an elected Senate of Nations and Regions

    Miliband announces plans to scrap the Lords – and introduce an elected Senate of Nations and Regions

    In a speech to Labour’s North West regional conference in Manchester, Ed Miliband will announce that a Labour government would abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected Senate. That has (broadly speaking) been Labour policy for some time. But there’s a twist. Miliband wants this new Senate to be a representative body made up of those from all of Britain’s Nations and Regions, as part of a new constitutional settlement to be decided by a constitutional […]

    Read more →
  • News Miliband speaks out on anti-semitic abuse targeted at Luciana Berger – and calls on social media companies to act

    Miliband speaks out on anti-semitic abuse targeted at Luciana Berger – and calls on social media companies to act

    As we reported last week, Labour MP and Shadow Minister Luciana Berger has been the victim of a sustained torrent of disgusting online anti-semtic abuse. Ed Miliband has hit out at Berger’s abusers today, calling on social media companies to be more proactive in tackling sustained, orchestrated abuse. He told Jewish News: “The anti-Semitic abuse that Luciana Berger has experienced over recent days is utterly appalling and has absolutely no place in our country. We must have no tolerance for this vile […]

    Read more →
  • Comment The debate about building ‘the homes we need’ has to go beyond numbers

    The debate about building ‘the homes we need’ has to go beyond numbers

    Big numbers abound in housing debates and rightly so. Two-hundred thousand new homes – the number the Labour frontbench has committed to building annually – is a response to the housing crisis that is starting to approach the scale we need. But the debate about building ‘the homes we need’ has to go beyond numbers. To make the point, look at the extreme case of ‘buy-to-leave’ homes that are bought off-plan as investors’ latest fancy and sit there empty in […]

    Read more →
  • Comment The mansion tax is a progressive tax and Labour in London should support it

    The mansion tax is a progressive tax and Labour in London should support it

    For those of us who believe in progressive taxation the last few weeks in London Labour have been pretty dismal. We seem to have an array of Labour MPs (mainly wannabe London mayoral candidates) and council leaders rushing to the press denouncing the proposed mansion tax as a’ tax on London’ (or if they were more honest a tax on the rich parts of London). Yes the promotion of the Mansion Tax has been inept and it would more accurate […]

    Read more →
  • Comment It’s time to put the Green Belt back on the table

    It’s time to put the Green Belt back on the table

    The UK’s housing crisis has finally been recognised across the political spectrum as an issue that needs urgent attention. Yet despite this consensus, political inertia on housebuilding has seen subsequent governments fail to create policies that address the issue coherently and strategically. Labour’s recent Lyons Review demonstrates a commitment to house-building, with a target of constructing 200,000 homes a year. Yet while the Review recognises that the housing crisis is not evenly spread, requiring different solutions in different places, there is […]

    Read more →