abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

27 Mar 2017

Martin Williams, Guardian (UK)

UK: Zero hour contracts & gig economy drive rise in bullying as workers lack basic rights protection

"The bullying and fear at the heart of zero-hour contracts"

...The rise of zero-hours contracts and the gig economy is likely to have an impact on workplace bullying. The relative job security afforded by permanent contracts can make it easier for victims to come forward and lodge complaints. But without the guarantee of work the next day, freelance and zero-hours workers risk everything when they speak out about mistreatment... bullying at work appears to be on the rise in the UK...In 2015, Acas received more than 20,000 calls from people seeking advice on bullying, harassment and abuse at work, on a range of different contract types...its report noted that job insecurity can “contribute to a climate conducive to negative behaviours, including bullying”. “The imbalance of power is a big thing that came out in our analysis of calls to our helpline from zero-hours and agency workers,” says Adrian Wakeling, a senior policy adviser for Acas. “Typically, if they wanted to assert a right of any kind, or challenge something, they often felt they couldn’t because they would just get less hours of work.”...It’s not just people on zero-hours contracts who have limited ability to defend themselves against bullying. Freelancers and agency workers, too, may feel the need to keep quiet about mistreatment or risk losing their income...Most experts agree that help and protection for workers in the gig economy is desperately lacking...the TUC’s advice? “The best protection that anybody on a zero-hours contract has against bullying is to join a trade union,” Reed says. “Trade unions will cover the cost of employment tribunal fees and make sure members continue to have access to justice.”