DEL minister must tackle zero hour contracts
Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has called on the Minister for Employment & Learning, Stephen Farry to abolish zero hour contracts as part of his ongoing reform of employment law.
Speaking after he raised the issue in the Assembly Mr Flanagan, a member of the Assembly's Employment & Learning Committee, said:
"Zero hour contracts have a deeply negative impact on workers’ rights and protections. They are bad for workers, bad for their families and bad for society.
“Zero hour contracts create an unequal balance in terms of workers’ rights and employers’ obligations which seriously disadvantages workers.
“They also disproportionately affect women and unskilled workers, negatively impacting on individual human dignity and self-esteem.
“The increasing casualisation of workers’ rights is a retrograde step. The punitive use of zero hour contracts, the refusal of most employers to pay a living wage and the increase in use of agency workers all need to be addressed as a matter of priority.
“During questions to the minister, we heard about the 1000s of people attending job fairs across the North in search of employment. It is clear that demand for employment is still outstripping the supply of jobs.
“In such a situation, it is vital that regulations are in place to protect workers from exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous employers.
“Stephen Farry should as part of the forthcoming changes to employment law, bring forward proposals to make zero hour contracts illegal.
“If the minister fails to adequately address this issue in the Bill, then Sinn Féin will table amendments to protect workers’ rights by banning the use of zero hour contracts.”