LRD guides and handbook August 2014

Casualisation at work - a guide for trade union reps



[page 5]

Casual work has always existed. Even before the 2008 recession, non-standard forms of working were an established feature of the UK and European labour markets, with fixed-term contracts, part-time work, on-call and zero hours contracts, temporary agency work and freelance contracts accounting for some 25% of the European workforce. However in the UK, the aftermath of the recession has seen a deeper and more fundamental structural labour market shift, with growing levels of involuntary casualisation firmly linked to low pay, low skills, minimal training, stunted career development and poor prospects. This return to a casualised past can only be stopped by strong trade unions.

This booklet, aimed at an audience of trade union reps and members, looks at the main forms of casualisation that have developed in the UK over the last six years, the sectors where they have the strongest grip, the legal rights of casual workers and the actions being taken by unions to fight back.

Chapter 1 looks at the facts and figures behind the spread of casualisation and its economic implications across various sectors;

Chapter 2 sets out the key legal tests used to determine employment status;

Chapter 3 examines the use of payroll companies to codify false self-employment;

Chapter 4 looks at the spread of umbrella companies;

Chapter 5 looks at personal service companies;

Chapter 6 looks at the growth of zero hours contracts;

Chapter 7 examines agency working;

Chapter 8 looks at the rights available to fixed-term employees;

Chapter 9 looks at the legal position of volunteers and interns; and

Chapter 10 sets out the basic statutory rights available to all workers.