Putney Labour candidate calls for ban on controversial zero-hour contracts and ‘unfair’ unpaid internships

Exploitative zero-hours contracts would be banned by a Labour government according to Labour parliamentary candidate for Putney Shelia Boswell.

Zero-hours contracts allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work meaning that employees only work the hours they are required by their employer.

They are only paid for the hours they do work and are not entitled to holiday pay or sick pay.

The use of these contracts has been a hot topic in the run up to next week’s general election with David Cameron insisting that they work for some people due to the flexibility they offer and that only one in 50 jobs use the contracts.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has called the contracts an ‘epidemic that endanger family life’ and this is a stance that Ms Boswell firmly believes in.

She said: “Zero-hours contracts are of great concern to the Labour party because it is very difficult for anyone to plan their working week around them as people don’t know whether they have work from one day to the next.

“This means that families with children can have problems with booking childcare as well as not knowing if you are going to be able to pay the bills at the end of the week.”

Ms Boswell also reiterated her party’s call to raise the national minimum wage.

Several high street brands are known to use zero-hours contracts among them are pub chain J.D. Wetherspoon who have argued that for some zero-hours contracts offer the best option.

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Wetherspoon does operate flexible contracts for its hourly paid staff. The company operates in a seasonal sector and offers flexible hours to meet demand.

“Wetherspoon probably offers more hours per week than any other pub company because of its long opening hours and the fact that its pubs are busy throughout the day.

“Flexible hours suit many people, though we appreciate that they do not suit all.”

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