Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, has today (6th May 2014) urged the Tory-led Government to clarify the circumstances in which someone will be forced to take a zero-hours job following reports of sanctions for jobseekers refusing zero-hours contracts.
“Only last month Employment Minister Esther McVey said that Jobcentre Plus guidance meant that claimants could not be mandated to apply for a zero-hours job and no sanctions would be taken against the claimant. Now we are hearing the complete opposite. The way the Department for Work and Pensions is being run is shambolic. The government urgently need to come clean over this and state what their position actually is.
“Furthermore, it only further highlights the confusion within the Coalition Government. On the one hand you have Lib Dem Vince Cable apparently saying no one would be forced onto zero-hours contracts, yet we have these reports saying that they will under Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit. What is the point of the Lib Dems?
“The huge increase in zero-hours contracts under the Tory-led government is another sign of their failure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and deliver a recovery that works for everyone. I am very pleased that Labour has pledged to outlaw zero-hours contracts where they exploit people, as well as improving opportunities for jobseekers by reforming the failing Work Programme.”