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Wirral MP steps up zero-hours contracts campaign
A WIRRAL MP is tabling questions in Parliament in a bid get to the truth about zero-hours contracts.
Alison McGovern has been campaigning for the Government to act over the controversial employment deals, which are rife across the UK.
Earlier this year Ms McGovern, with fellow MPs George Howarth and Luciana Berger, published a report which recommended a voluntary code of practice to stop the abuse of workers by unscrupulous employers.
The contracts have caused an outcry because of growing concerns they are unfair and can be used to exploit staff.
Under a zero-hours deal, workers agree to be available as and when required.
The number of hours or times are unspecified - but employees are expected to be on-call and receive payment only for hours worked.
At the beginning of August, business secretary Vince Cable ordered a review amid wide-scale reports of abuse.
But confusion has been caused between figures supplied by businesses and public bodies and those published by the Office for National Statistics.
This week, Ms McGovern tabled Parliamentary questions to both Mr Cable and health secretary Jeremy Hunt asking them to disclose what steps are being taken to improve accuracy of the data.
Ms McGovern said: “Knowing the scale of the problem is important if you are to adequately tackle it.
“Recently, the care minister told me there were 300,000 people on these contracts. Yet the ONS reports there are 250,000.
“If the Government cannot get their statistics straight, what faith can we have in their review?”
The Wirral South MP said the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development estimates that there are as many as one-million people on the contracts.
Following her intervention, the ONS launched consultation on the collection of data and will conduct telephone surveys of employers to find out how easy it is to supply the necessary information.
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