EU finally backs S&D call for crackdown on precarious and zero hour contracts

Javi López, S&D MEP responsible for the transparent and predictable working conditions, stated: “These new laws will help vulnerable workers who are trapped in abusive temporary contracts, often with no guaranteed hours per week. From now on, workers on these on-demand style contracts will have to be compensated whenever an employer cancels work at the last minute. Companies will be allowed to ask people to work within flexible jobs only within a predetermined set of hours and will have to give workers enough notice when giving them new shifts. Member states will also have to take action against abusive training practices – such as companies who force workers to pay for their own training. “Companies are increasingly trying to employ people on these contracts to cut costs and avoid their social responsibilities. Last night we took a small but important step forward to protect workers in the most vulnerable positions.”

Agnes Jongerius, MEP and S&D spokesperson on employment and social affairs, said: “For years and years we see that work is becoming more flexible and that this is a great benefit. In fact, for the majority of people it means the opposite – short term or zero hour contracts, no social protection, and no guaranteed monthly income lead to great uncertainty. Last night we took a step to curb the worst kind of abusive practices. “People deserve certainty about their income and the hours they have to work. That is the basis to build up a living. Right-wing governments did all they could to block this progress. They have excluded seafarers and government personnel, but we will never stop fighting for strong protection for all workers. “We must stop the kind of ‘flexibility’ that companies just use to cut their costs. Flexibility can only be beneficial if it happens on the terms of workers.”

Leading S&D MEPs welcomed new rules agreed yesterday that will help people working on precarious or zero hour contracts. The proposals were part of a wider package on transparent and predictable working conditions agreed by the European Parliament, Council and Commission late last night. S&D Group president Udo Bullmann said: “Last night we secured stronger protections for millions of European workers on the most precarious short-term or on-demand contracts. Member states will finally have to ban or restrict the use of zero hour contracts, where workers have no idea how many shifts they will have each week or how much they will earn. We cannot accept a labour system which leaves millions with no security, no social rights, and no guaranteed income. Last night was an important step forward and we now urge national governments to implement these proposals as quickly as possible”.