The Socialists and Democrats voted today in favour of a crucial resolution calling for decent working conditions and a living wage for all employees, in spite of efforts by the conservatives and the liberals to water it down. The S&Ds, together with other progressive forces in the European Parliament, warned against the negative effects of precarious employment on work-life balance and highlighted the need to prevent zero-hours contracts.

S&D Group negotiator on working conditions, Siôn Simon MEP, said:

"The S&D Group has always been at the forefront in the fight for workers' rights and pushed very hard for a report to be adopted on precarious employment. We welcome this report which addresses the question of atypical and precarious employment and the new forms of digitally-driven employment.

"Precarious employment is on the rise in post-crisis Europe, leaving more and more workers without job security, sufficient remuneration or social protection. Research suggests there is an increase in some forms of precarious employment such as zero-hours contracts which for us are simply unacceptable.

"We strongly believe that all workers deserve and should have decent working conditions and a living wage in order to provide for themselves and their families. By supporting this report we call for the prevention of zero-hours contracts, the introduction of a living wage and the use of open-ended contracts.

"At the same time, we also need to ensure that legislation on digitally-driven forms of employment is up-to-date so that no worker is left unprotected by labour legislation."

S&D Group spokesperson on employment, Jutta Steinruck MEP, added:

"Contracts without a fixed working time guarantee, work on demand or forced self-employment is an everyday reality for many Europeans. Only 59% of European workers currently hold full-time contracts. Social-security systems, occupational safety standards and wage claims are undermined under the guise of labour-market flexibility. The financial crisis and the need for sound fiscal policy can no longer be an alibi for the erosion of labour rights. Precarious employment is not only detrimental to workers, but also to society as it entails tax losses and higher public expenditure. In many EU countries, due to the extremely high number of part-time contracts, the state has to offset the salaries of workers who remain below the poverty line.

"It must therefore be clear to everyone that precarious employment is not the solution to unemployment. Quite the opposite: what we need is decent jobs for all workers that provide a living wage and equal pay for equal work."

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