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Action against welfare cuts and zero-hours contracts
ANTI-AUSTERITY campaigners across the region staged protests as part of a national day of action against the government’s welfare cuts.
Teesside People’s Assembly supporters gathered in Middlesbrough yesterday (Saturday, December 14) to ask shoppers how they could afford Christmas, while the Durham People’s Assembly held a protest in the city against zero-hours contracts.
At Middlesbrough bus station campaigners wore Christmas jumpers and sang austerity-themed carols.
Teesside activist Barbara Campbell said: “More and more people in our community are struggling to make ends meet and many are being forced into poverty.
"As real wages continue to decline, work becomes increasingly insecure and energy prices become unaffordable, people are being forced into the hands of pay day loan sharks just to meet their everyday needs.”
Durham People’s Assembly Organiser Paul Simpson said: “It’s estimated that nearly a million people in this country are employed on a zero-hours contract, and we think this is completely unacceptable, because zero hours contracts allow employers to escape almost all their obligations other than paying the minimum wage.
“Staff working on zero-hours contracts aren’t entitled to sick pay or holiday pay and in some cases employees are being forced to waive their right, under working time regulations, to work no more than 48 hours a week.
“We believe zero-hours contracts exploit staff, who are often poorly paid in comparison to their colleagues on fixed term or permanent contracts.”
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