Vince Cable urges right for zero-hours staff to request fixed hours
Business secretary suggests market flexibility and reforms might be causing a flood of labour and lowering living standards.
Anyone on a zero-hours contract should be given a statutory right to request their employer hands them a fixed-hours contract, the business secretary, Vince Cable, has suggested.
He made his proposals as he argued that there were now signs that the UK labour market had become “too flexible”, leading to depressed wages and entrenched low productivity.
His remarks, in a speech to the Resolution Foundation, are the most serious acknowledgement yet by a senior government figure that structural flaws in the UK labour market could be holding back living standards despite economic growth.
Cable said: “The recession has brought to light problems that we need to resolve. We have to confront the possibility that labour markets may be becoming too flexible. Too much flexibility, and we undermine the incentive to be more productive.”
In a proposal that has not been cleared with the entire government, Cable suggests that those on zero-hours contracts should have a statutory right to request a fixed-term contract.