Zero hours contracts have been banned in New Zealand after the country’s parliament unanimously voted against them.
All the country’s main parties voted to outlaw the contracts – where an employer is not obliged to provide workers with any minimum working hours.
The Unite trade union, which has named and shamed fast food employers as users of zero-hour contracts, has strongly welcomed the move.
“We had been trying to get what we called ‘secure hours’ in the fast food industry since we launched the “supersizemypay.com” campaign in 2003,” said Unite.
The union said while its campaigns for a substantial lift in the minimum wage and an end to youth rates succeeded, the campaign against zero hours was thwarted by employers.
“We got promises to offer hours to existing staff before new staff were hired written into our agreements but they were virtually unenforceable in such high turnover industries,” Unite added.
The union said it lacked economic power to shut premises but attacking brands as “cheats and exploiters of often young and vulnerable workers” had proved to be a political strength.
In the end even right of centre media celebrated the end of zero hour contracts, the union said.
Initially the government sought to moderate zero hours contracts rather than banning them outright. But modifications to the law will effectively outlaw the contracts as employment agreements must now contain some guaranteed hours.