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'Zero-hours' contracts: Over one million workers in UK are literally slaves

Simon Goodley and Phillip Inman
The Guardian
Mon, 05 Aug 2013 16:22 CDT

Poll of more than 1,000 employers reveals controversial contract used far more widely in the UK than government data suggests.

More than 1 million British workers could be employed on zero-hours contracts, new figures released on Monday reveal, suggesting that British business is deploying the controversial employment terms far more widely than previously thought.

The figure - derived from a poll of more than 1,000 employers conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) - prompted renewed calls for the government to launch a full inquiry into the use of the contracts, after a week in which a string of organisations - from retail chains to Buckingham Palace - have faced criticism for hiring staff but offering no guarantee of work and pay each week. Employees on zero-hours contracts often get no holiday or sick pay and have to ask permission before seeking additional work elsewhere.

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