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Ed Miliband promises to put ban on zero-hour contracts

By Andrew Grice

Published 01/04/2015

Ed Miliband has pledged to put an end to zero-hour contracts
Ed Miliband has pledged to put an end to zero-hour contracts

An end to "zero-hours Britain" will be promised by Labour today as Ed Miliband seeks to compound David Cameron's problems on the issue by accusing him of being out of touch with ordinary people.

Mr Miliband will announce that the first Queen's Speech of a Labour government would include a Bill to give workers on zero-hours contracts a legal right to a regular contract if they have worked without guaranteed hours for 12 weeks - a dramatic drop from the previous policy of 12 months.

Labour officials insisted the tougher line has been under consideration for months. But speaking in Yorkshire today, Mr Miliband will attack Mr Cameron for the way he handled Jeremy Paxman's questions about zero-hours contracts on the first leaders' television programme of the election last Thursday.

The Prime Minister eventually admitted he could not afford to live on such a contract himself. Mr Miliband's move follows repeated personal criticism by Mr Cameron, who has called the Labour leader a "Hampstead socialist" and said that "the personal is national".

An estimated 1.8 million people in the UK are on zero-hours contracts - a fourfold increase since 2010 - and Labour's new pledge would give 90% of them the right to move to a regular contract if they wished.

The coalition outlawed "exclusivity clauses" which prevented people working elsewhere when their "zero-hours" employer did not need them.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto may pledge further measures to clamp down on "abusive practices".

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