PRESS RELEASE: BRENT COUNCIL AND BEAVERBROOKS THE LATEST ORGANISATIONS TO BE AWARDED ZERO HOURS JUSTICE ACCREDITATION
Zero hours contracts have reached a record high according to data released today by the Office of National Statistics. The Labour Force Survey shows the numbers of workers on zero hours contracts in October – December 2022 has reached a staggering 1.13 million workers, an increase of 8.5% on the previous quarter. The largest groups of workers on zero hours contracts are women, young people and workers born outside the UK. The two sectors highest hit are hospitality (29.9% of workers) and care (18.7% of workers).
In the absence of government action, Zero Hours Justice are encouraging employers to do the right thing and stop the use of unilaterally imposed zero hours contracts
Brent Council directly employs 2,614 people and not one of these workers are on a zero hours contract. Brent Council’s accreditation as a “Silver” standard Zero Hours Justice employer includes a commitment to actively encourage their third-party contractors, providers and agencies to phase out the use of zero hours contracts for workers in any services they provide. This sets a great example to other local authorities, as well as businesses in their community and beyond.
Zero Hours Justice recognise that public bodies, like Brent Council, do outsource services, often as a result of cuts to funding from central government. However, in awarding Brent Council “Silver” Accreditation, Brent have pledged their commitment to actively encourage all third-party contractors, providers and agencies to phase out the use of zero hours contracts over time, in any services they provide.
Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, says, “This is a massive achievement for Brent Council and a key step in our path to becoming a Living Wage Borough. Despite the hurdles, over the last few years we’ve in-sourced hundreds of jobs, from our estate cleaning service to our park wardens, all with a view to improve workers’ rights and conditions. As an anchor institution we know there is much more to do, but I’m proud of the journey we have already made to creating good jobs with good pay; today’s accreditation shows just how far we have already come.”
The motion to support the Zero Hours Justice campaign and Accreditation Scheme was proposed to Brent Council by Cllr Jumbo Chan. Cllr Chan says "I am proud that Brent Council has shown great leadership by becoming the first local authority in Britain to become accredited with Zero Hours Justice. With a Cost of Living Crisis engulfing the country, Britain's biggest employers can choose to either forsake workers to further precarity and insecurity, or establish a partnership based upon mutual respect and hard work, and thus create a virtuous circle towards shared decency and prosperity for all. Though there is still much more work to do, by affirming that our direct employees are not subject to zero-hour contracts – nor for that matter, fire and rehire – Brent Council has shown that local authorities can be on the cutting edge of workers' rights."
Chris Peace, Director of Zero Hours Justice says, “This is a huge step forward and we applaud Brent Council for this milestone commitment. They have now set a benchmark for other local authorities and public bodies, such as NHS Trusts. Our public services are at the heart of our communities, employing 1,000s of people in their areas, and funded by the taxpayer, so it is only right that they lead by example and do not directly employ anyone on a zero hours contract, also encouraging other businesses and organisations to do the same.”
Beaverbrooks is famous for being a great company to work for and as a family-owned business, doing the best thing for its people is in Beaverbrooks’ DNA, and this is reflected in every decision the company makes. Beaverbrooks has shown that a refrain from using zero hours contracts is not only possible, but it makes complete business sense as well.
Anna Blackburn, Managing Director of Beaverbrooks, said: “At Beaverbrooks, our belief has always been if you put your people at the heart of everything you do, it will reflect positively in the bottom line. Protecting jobs, a commitment to never using zero hours contracts and maintaining fair wages and hours is a key priority as part of this. By staying true to our core values and company culture, Beaverbrooks delivered record breaking results in 2022 and into this year. This has enabled us to pay our biggest ever bonuses, deliver a one-off cost of living payment to all our people in October 2022 and continue our tradition of an extra week’s salary in December 2022. As we navigate uncertain times ahead of us, we will continue our commitment to supporting our colleagues and making our company the fantastic place to work that it is.”
Julian Richer, founder of Zero Hours Justice says, “We are delighted that both Brent Council and Beaverbrooks are the latest additions to our ever-growing number of accredited employers. It can’t be right that the uncertainty of working hours and income results in many zero hours workers experiencing poverty, mental anguish and anxiety which so often affects the whole family. By offering workers the certainty of a contract with clear hours and full employment rights, employers will reap the rewards in staff retention and productivity. I urge all employers to follow the lead set by those who have signed up to the Zero Hours Justice accreditation scheme and apply to join our free accreditation scheme. Zero hours contracts are bad for workers, bad for business and bad for the economy.”
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Images can be downloaded from here. Image of Julian Richer should be credited to Gerardo Jaconelli.