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'Significant' rise in self-employment and temporary work reported in UK

Self-employment and temporary work has increased "significantly" in the UK compared with other EU countries, new research shows.

The absence of effective legislation to regulate insecure work has allowed the growth of insecure employment such as zero-hours contracts, the TUC said.

Its study found the UK had the biggest increase in the number of self-employed workers in the EU from 2008 to 2015 and the third largest rise in temporary workers.

The trend could not be explained by the rise in employment, as the number of temporary and self-employed workers in Germany had fallen despite that country's strong record on jobs, the report said.

The TUC noted that workers in France could only be on a fixed-term contract for 18 months, while zero-hours contracts did not exist in many EU countries.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "We don't need to accept insecure jobs as a necessary evil to get more people into work.

"In Germany, employment growth has been the strongest in the EU, but at the same time insecure employment has declined.

"It's time Britain stopped being a soft touch for bad bosses.

"All the parties must explain in their election manifestos how they will improve the rights of working people.

"There are millions of insecure workers in Britain who need a government that will flex its muscles to fight their corner, and stand up to bosses who treat them badly.

"If countries like France, the Netherlands and Germany can give their working people more protection, Britain can too."

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