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Call for action over zero-hours misuse

ONE of the UK's biggest trade unions has challenged Westminster to tackle the 'widespread' misuse of zero-hour contracts.

Representatives from Usdaw called for urgent reform yesterday, during a Commons' Scottish Select Committee hearing in Falkirk.

Karen Whitefield, who is the campaigns officer at Usdaw, said: "If major supermarkets can respond to business fluctuations without resorting to zero-hours contracts then why can't many of the businesses that currently use these contracts?

"Whilst most Usdaw-organised workplaces don't have zero-hours contracts, one in every four Usdaw members knows someone - a friend or family member - who is employed on a zero-hours contract."

Ms Whitefield suggested that such contracts are widespread, especially in workplaces that don't have a trade union.

Critics argue businesses that use zero-hour contracts save money by not paying any sickness and holiday entitlements as well as overtime.

Sports Direct, McDonald's, Cineworld and Amazon are among those companies that use the contracts.

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