unionstogether and Bilal Mahmood launched a mobile billboard to highlight how out of touch the Conservative Party has become and to highlight their complacent attitude to those people trapped on zero hours contracts. Under the Conservatives there has been a huge growth in these contracts which are insecure, are not guaranteed working hours and often do not include basic employment rights such as sick pay. According to the Office of National Statistics there are currently 1.8 million zero hours contracts in the UK.
In the last televised leaders’ debate that he attended, David Cameron dismissed the issue of workers struggling with insecure employment and short hours with his phrase: “Never mind zero hours contracts!” This has now been followed by Ian Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, who suggested that the problem with zero hours was the name. His suggestion was that they should be rebranded “flexible hours contracts”.
Trade unionists, local Labour supporters and Bilal Mahmood believe the Conservative Party is out of touch on zero hours contracts, failing to recognise they make it much harder for many people to plan their lives. Now unionstogether are taking the words of David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith onto the streets - starting in Iain Duncan Smith’s own constituency (Chingford and Woodford Green) and launched by local Labour candidate Bilal Mahmood. It will the travel across the country to highlight the issue in a string of seats where the outcome could be decisive to the general election.
Mr Mahmood said added:
“The choice is clear – a Conservative Government that is out of touch with working people, or a Labour government that will ban exploitative zero hours contracts and improve the lives of millions of working people.
“I’m all for changing the word ‘Iain Duncan Smith MP’ to ‘Bilal Mahmood MP’ to get rid of that particular problem.”