Zero hours contracts in the rail industry

Circular No: NP/010/14




Our ref: R12/5/14


20th January 2014


Dear Colleagues


Zero hour contracts in the rail industry

I am writing to notify you of a Government consultation that was launched last month into the use of zero hour contracts.

The union regards the use of zero hour contracts across all transport sectors, including the rail industry, as unsafe and a direct attack on employment rights. These contracts are not defined in law and employers exploit this ‘flexibility’ to deny workers their basic employment rights.

In the rail industry, the use of zero hour contracts has increased, particularly amongst contractors working for Network Rail and we are concerned that this practice will continue into Control Period 5 (2014-19), despite the safety regulator, the Office of Rail Regulation sharing the union’s concerns over zero hours and stating that this suspect form of employment is ‘not conducive to a safe railway.’

The union will be responding to the consultation and it is vital that we have up to date information from our members on the use of zero hour contracts amongst employers on the railways so that we can accurately assess the extent of this exploitative and dangerous practice. It would be appreciated if Branches and individual members could submit any information on zero hour contracts to by 28th February 2014.

The consultation closes on 14th March 2014 and the relevant documents can be downloaded here: 

I would be grateful if you could bring the content of this circular to the attention of all members in your Branch.

Yours sincerely


Bob Crow

General Secretary