Unions say there has been an explosion in the use of zero-hours contracts since their introduction to the job market from the retail sector in the early 1990s.Under such contracts, employees agree to make themselves available for work as and when required, but have no guaranteed hours or shift patterns.

We all know that Britain has faced a tremendous problem during the recession, a lot of people lost their homes and many more lost their jobs. Subsequently, the British government has been doing various things  such as creating new jobs through entrepreneur schemes, to offering more money for start up businesses and additionally launching initiatives such as the ‘zero contract’ hours programme.

People claiming jobseeker’s allowance had been able to refuse to accept such jobs without facing penalties in the past, however things are now changing. Under universal credit, which is being rolled out gradually, people will have to accept the casual contracts.

Zero-hours contracts, which allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work, are popular with many companies because they offer flexibility and they are not committed in any legal bond to provide the worker with the same rights and benefits as permanent staff.

Some critics say they can leave workers with little financial stability or security, few employment rights and not enough work.

The government says such contracts offer an average 25 hours work a week and can be a good means of gaining experience, especially for those people who have just come out of University or those who have been out of the work market for some time.

Some politicians have said the government should focus on stopping abuse of workers through zero-hours contracts rather than on forcing claimants to accept such working arrangements.

Other critics believe that it is placing pressure on unemployed Brits to take on a job they do not want to do. Under the new scheme, claimants who turn down such a contract when it is thought to be suitable could lose payments for more than three months.

Zero hours is a really difficult subject to discuss as we all want to see more people back in work. However, it is not fair to have people working under unfair conditions. There is a benefit that people can earn more than what they would receive on benefits. However it can also be argued it gives people the chance to enter/re-enter the workforce and build up their experience to find better jobs.

We have been asking-what do you think? Fair or unfair?