Survey reveals significant number of transport firms back zero-hours contracts

Survey reveals significant number of transport firms back zero-hours contracts

Managing Director, Transport Division | Close Brothers Asset Finance

According to the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, 15% of UK transport businesses are in favour of zero-hours contracts despite the widespread controversy surrounding their introduction.

Of the above figure, 59% believe that these contracts would allow them to respond quickly to fluctuating demand for their services, while almost a third (29%) believe that it would grant their employees greater flexibility in the workplace.

The statistics are taken from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly poll of SME owners and senior management that gauges sentiment on a number of issues that affect their business.

Commenting on the findings, John Fawcett, Managing Director of the Transport Division at Close Brothers Asset Finance said: “Zero-hours contracts have been the subject of some debate between employers, employees and the government in recent months and it shows no sign of abating."

According to the Office of National Statistics*, approximately 1.4 million people in the UK are currently employed on contracts with no fixed hours, representing a significant part of the national workforce who are in employment but have no guarantee of a stable income."

While zero-hours contracts can provide flexibility, they can also make things like budgeting and financial planning difficult as it’s almost impossible to know how many hours they’ll be working from one month to the next.  Employees are often obliged to work the shifts they are offered and some are unable to accept additional work elsewhere without breaking the terms of their contract.

The study also found that 11% of transport businesses currently have staff employed on zero-hours contracts, while a further 7% are planning to implement them in the near future.

Mr Fawcett added: “In this evolving economic climate firms are understandably taking steps to adapt and strive for growth and zero-hours contracts provide an opportunity to increase their workforce to meet demand while keeping overheads to a minimum."

Research from our Business Barometer also found that two-fifths of transport firms plan to recruit new staff in the next 12 months and yet almost half still cite cash flow as a major concern for their business, which may explain why many have already implemented these contracts as a way to safeguard their future.

*http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lmac/contracts-with-no-guaranteed-hours/zero-hours-contracts/art-zero-hours.html