Thursday, May 30, 2024

Zero tolerance for bad employers says Polly

LABOUR’S parliamentary candidate Polly Billington has hit out at local employers who are undermining workers by using zero hours contracts.

Last week figures from the Office of National Statistics estimated that 250,000 people were employed on so called ‘zero hour contracts’. New, independent research out this week has revealed that the number of people on these kind of contracts is more likely to be 1,000,000 people, four times what was previously thought.

The research has shown that the retail industry is particularly noted for their use of these kinds of contracts, with Sports Direct who trade out of Lakeside named as a particular offender. According to the latest statistics, over 15,000 people in Thurrock work in retail, one-fifth of the working population.

Polly Billington said:

“I have been concerned by the growth of the use of zero hours contracts for some time and this week’s figures have confirmed my worst fears.

“I speak to people here in Thurrock every day who are underemployed and financially insecure. They tell me they’re uncertain about how much money will be in next week’s pay packet or whether they’ll have enough work next week.

“This is not good enough, and must stop.

“As part of my ongoing investigation into the use of zero hours contacts am writing to all large employers in Thurrock asking how many people in their business are employed on ‘zero hours contracts’ or ‘casual contracts’.

“I am also collecting information anonymously from people employed on zero hours contracts, many of who, are frightened that if they speak out they will lose their jobs. Working together we can end this growing scourge of insecure and damaging employment”

If you are working on a zero hours or casual contract, Polly would like to hear from you. You can fill in her anonymous online survey about employment in Thurrock here


  1. From the news reports that I have seen, only 14% of those on zero hours contracts have a problem with them. That leaves 86% fairly content with them doesn’t it? So, are the Labour Party going to do the usual and seek to destroy a thing because it upsets a minority? And is it really a “growing scourge of insecure and damaging employment”? As above, it seems like 86% of people on them disagree.
    Even if these contracts really are bad news, surely they exist only because of the massive amount of regulation and bureaucracy heaped on employers every time they take on a full time employee? Seems to me that making it easier to employ people in the first place would be a better way to go that attacking contracts that at least offer employment where, perhaps, there wouldn’t be otherwise?

  2. I would like to know what Polly Billington thinks employers are supposed to do when most local authorities hand out contracts that state there is no guarantee of work ?

  3. From my time in employment I realize the necessity of Zero hour contracts.
    With the economy driven in to recession businesses cannot guarantee their own survival let alone the employment of full time staff. Many of these employees are greatful for the job, and the hours they do receive, you would probably find the unemployment rate rising if these contracts were outlawed, as employers would just go with the bare minimum staffing and get rid of everyone else.
    Remember on the flip side of this, there are many contracts awarded by Local Authorities, the NHS and Central Government, that expect the best rates available while not guaranteeing any total amount of work! How would Polly staff that conundrum? employ the least and make the client wait?

  4. This comes from the party that brought us the pathetic minimum wage to guarantee that their tidal wave of immigrants would get a bare minimum to survive on all topped up with tax credits that the rest of us pay for. Now the minimum wage is the standard for most to aspire to. Labour talk about the race to the bottom. They didn’t race to the bottom, they took the country on a free fall jump straight there without a parachute.

    Simple economic lesson for Polly. Supply and demand dear. Your party put us where we are with your policies. Please don’t lecture us afterwards.

    Labour know nothing of economics or business. Their answer is always more government intervention, more taxation, more borrowing, more control of people’s lives. They and the unions wouldn’t have it any other way.

  5. Yet more lip service from the party that have yet to give credible solutions to the problems that the caused in the first place

  6. Perhaps Comrade Polly should start with the COOP. You know the supermarket that sponsors a number of Labour MPs and makes donations to the Labour Party.

    Don’t pontificate until you get your own house in order.


  7. Increasingly Polly has shown that she has nothing to offer the people of Thurrock. She never says anything about the district without mentioning some stupid political link which normally ends in ‘cuts’. She completely denies any wrong with the Labour party and sounds like a broken record.

    Zero hour contracts was something that grew under Labour, they did nothing to stop it then so it’s hypocritical for them to what to stop it now. Had Labour run the economy better rather than running it into the ground than they may have found that there would be less need for such contracts.

    Whoever votes for this extremely forgetful lady clearly wants the damage her club done to this country to continue.

  8. “Labour’s focus on zero-hours contracts is on the rocks after it was revealed Labour councils all over the country use them. “A Labour spokeswoman” appears to be in full retreat, telling the Standard that they “were not always bad” and that “this sort of flexibility can be important for some employees”.
    Courtesy of Guido Fawkes.
    Come on Polly, a response please!

  9. GRAYS64 – It gets better. Labour controlled Thurrock Council are currently advertising jobs with zero hour contracts:-

    Childcare Practitioners – Thurrock Adult Community College

    Cook 1 – Casual Catering Assistant x10

    Sessional Lecturers – Thurrock Adult Community College

    So will Comrade Polly be having a word with Comrade Kent about these zero hour contracts?

    Come on Polly – let us hear you say to Cllr John Kent “This is not good enough, and must stop?

  10. Polly should start with Labour controlled Thurrock Council – how many employees do they have on zero contracts? Freedom of Information request should be interesting! And if you check Thurrock Council’s website – the jobs section – there are several adverts for jobs with zero hour contracts.

  11. I am one of the Million who is on theese contracts and its awfull two months in a year its goes mental and we can work 60hrs a week then it slows down for 2 months and i struggle to get any work the reamining 8 months its un certainity when where and who you are working with 🙁 Hate the way i am expolited to not know how much i will earn and take home to my family but if i make a fuss i am just replaced with another eastern eurpoean who will do it.

    The government is to launch an investigation into the use of zero-hour staff contracts, after concerns were raised that some employers were misusing them.
    The review has been launched by business secretary Vince Cable, who said it will enable officials to “better understand” how the contracts work in practice by speaking to businesses, trade unions and industry bodies representing the sectors where zero-hour contracts are most commonly used.
    Over the last ten years, there has been a steady rise in the number of zero-hour contracts being used by employers, which gives many people flexibility by offering a choice of working patterns, he explained.
    “However, for a contract that is now more widely used, we know relatively little about its effect on employers and employees. There has been anecdotal evidence of abuse by certain employers – including in the public sector – of some vulnerable workers at the margins of the labour market,” Mr Cable said.
    Although the findings of the review are unlikely to result in zero-hour contracts being banned, restrictions could be imposed to provide workers with better protection.


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