Nearly 10 million workers in precarious employment, says union

A ‘shocking picture’ of the modern world of work has been revealed by new research that claims a third of the workforce is in precarious employment.

The study by union GMB claims that up to 10 million people are currently in insecure work. It defines this as those in the gig economy, on zero or short hours contracts, temporary workers, the underemployed and those at risk of bogus self-employment.

Its research shows that over three-quarters of those in precarious employment previously had permanent employment – which the union says highlights the changing nature of the workplace – and over two thirds say their cost of living is rising faster than their earnings. Perhaps not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of precarious workers say they are suffering stress or anxiety as a result of their job and 61% say they have been to work while unwell for fear of not being paid, losing their job or missing out on future hours.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, says: “This paints a shocking picture of the modern world of work. It is a product of government’s failure to tackle bogus self-employment, the use of agency contracts a business model and point blank refusal to ban zero hours contracts.

“There is a political choice to be made. Our workforce, communities and indeed the Treasury is paying the price of insecure work, it’s not fair and it’s not sustainable.”

Employment Solicitor


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