UK must back EU action on zero-hours contracts and keep any new laws after Brexit, warn Labour MEPs

The European Commission today vowed to investigate the flexible working conditions at McDonald’s restaurants throughout the EU, following a successful petition from British trade unions, backed by Labour MEPs.

Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament, said:

“Theresa May says workers’ rights are safe with her and will be safe after Brexit – well, now we will see. We will see if the UK government backs any proposals from the Commission to tackle abusive zero-hour contracts to give workers more financial stability and security, and we will see if they keep any new EU laws after Brexit.

“Labour MEPs have long been pushing for EU action on exploitative zero-hours contracts which prevent people from having any form of financial security. It is completely unfair that some employees don’t know how much they will get from week to week – they don’t have zero rent, they still have to put food on the table for their kids.

“People cannot be expected to put their life on hold on the off-chance they are offered work, which they desperately need. It is deplorable that workers can have their shifts cancelled at the last minute, or even be sent home after turning up for their shift.”

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the European Parliament petitions committee, added:

“Today we heard the voices of McDonald’s workers from Britain, France and Belgium employed on precarious employment contracts. The Commission has made clear that workers employed on zero-hours contracts should have full employment rights as a result of EU law on part-time workers, and that there is a need to investigate the legality of flexi-jobs under EU law.

“These types of contracts are pernicious. For example, workers’ basic rights are withheld, with no maternity leave, paid holiday or redundancy given. We need to build a Europe-wide picture of precarious employment so we can understand its impact.

“We have proposed an impact study of insecure employment in all EU countries to get a better picture and we will write to McDonald’s to demand an end to these forms of employment in their stores.”