Variable and zero hour contracts and the undermining of Agenda for Change

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2012 Health Care Service Group Conference
16 December 2011
Carried as Amended

Conference will be aware that for some time we have seen an increase in zero hours or permanent variable hours contracts within the public sector. Employers within the Northern region have been using variable contracts as a means of compulsory redundancies.

NHS Foundation Trusts are not the only ones using using zero hours or variable hours contracts. These contracts are increasingly being introduced in other services for example Police, Local Government and universities. These contracts mean that employers do not have to provide specific hours or days of work to staff or specific work location.

The legal implications for our members are very serious, especially in terms of maternity, national insurance, redundancy, holiday and sickness rights. Employers are using this as a means of avoiding their responsibilities with huge financial implications for our members, including their pensions.

Members who are reliant on paid employment are being faced with difficult decisions. Do they continue with no guarantee of paid employment but not being made redundant or eligible to claim unemployment benefits, or voluntarily leaving their employment and have to wait to be eligible to claim state benefits.

Conference believes that these contracts are not in keeping with national negotiations within the NHS and are a threat to the Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions.

Conference therefore calls upon the Service Group Executive to:-

1)Explore the legalities of these contracts and their position within the Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions of employment.

2)Raise the awareness of the implications for our members of zero hours or variable hour contracts

3)Raise through Labour Link to campaign on the issue