Speaking to the TUC in Bournemouth he likened the controversial zero hours contracts to something out of the Victorian era rather than the 21st century. However, he did acknowledge that not all such contracts were bad.
This has been the concern of freelancers and high earning contractors who feel that any attempts to outlaw zero hours contracts to protect vulnerable workers could impact on their own flexzibility and working practices.
With a theme of yes to flexibility, but no to exploitation, Ed Miliband said: "There are some kinds of these contracts which are useful. For locum doctors. Or supply teachers at schools. Or sometimes, young people working in bars. But zero hours contracts have been terribly misused.
"....the worst of these practices owe more to the Victorian era than they do to the kind of workplace we should have in the 21st century. It’s wrong. And the next Labour government will put things right.
"We’ll ban zero hours contracts which require workers to work exclusively for one business. We’ll stop zero hours contracts which require workers to be on call all day without any guarantee of work. And we’ll end zero hours contracts where workers are working regular hours but are denied a regular contract."
He has also commissioned HR leader Norman Pickavance to chair an independent consultation and review into the use of zero hour contracts in the UK.
Mr Pickavance responded by saying that he intended to take a step back to understand what was going on, amid a 'lot of myths and misunderstandings.
The Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) responded positively to moves to better understand the zero hour contracts controversy.
They welcomed Mr Pickavance’s appointment and Chairman Adrian Marlowe said: “We agree with Norman Pickavance’s statement that myths and misunderstanding exist around the use of such contracts. These do need to be clarified as we do not accept that all zero hour contracts are the ‘devil’s work’ and we look forward to the Labour Party report on the subject in January.
“A flexible workforce is important to the UK economy but also that unfairness can arise if an employer prevents a worker taking up job opportunities elsewhere. This is the type of exploitation which Ed Miliband has pledged to ban; I’m pleased to say that within the recruitment industry such restrictive practices are already unlawful."
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2013