The gig economy and zero hours contracts are the “reincarnation of an ancient evil”, a leading British cleric has claimed.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also took aim at companies in “new industries” which he said failed to pay a “real living wage”, forcing taxpayers to effectively supplement the earnings of workers in the form of benefits.
He said this amounted to large businesses “leeching” off the taxpayer as he accused them of failing to pay their fair share of taxes.
The archbishop attacked the gig economy and the use of zero hours contracts as he addressed the TUC Congress in Manchester.
He said they were “nothing new”, and added: “It is simply the reincarnation of an ancient evil. And God says ‘let justice flow down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’.”
The archbishop said the gig economy, typically based on flexible working and payment based on tasks completed rather than hours worked, was not the only “reincarnation of oppression of the vulnerable in employment”.
“Pensions are just one example of the profit motive leading to the weakest being given the most risk and the strongest the most protection,” he said.