On 29th June 2016 Baroness Quin asked Her Majesty’s Government “in the light of the increased use of zero-hours employment contracts nationally and regionally, what assessment they have made of the effects of such contracts on an individual’s chances of gaining full-time salaried employment, and on specific sectors, both public and private, of the UK economy.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Baroness, Lady Quin, for introducing this important event. It does feel lonely over here, and I hope you will not think that I am the Opposition.
I have become interested in this issue in part because of my work on modern slavery. I name that, alongside this issue, because we are in a perfect storm that is making slavery and zero-hours contracts increasing phenomena in our society. We have heard about this perfect storm: this tightness in margins and the shifting of risk; the desire for flexibility; the fact that people are so mobile they do not develop a strong relationship with any employer anyway; and the fact that, as the noble Lord, Lord Monks, and the noble Baroness, Lady Dean, said, economic inequality is increasing so much that people are desperate for work. Then migration, and especially illegal migration, adds another degree of desperation. There is a market to be exploited, both through slavery and through the unscrupulous use of zero-hours contracts, although we know these do suit some people. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby asks Government about pastoral care and training for those on zero-hour contracts”