Thanks for this thoughtful response -- I appreciate getting more context to understand this problem.
Here in the US we also have trouble with employers who avoid protections by hiring only part time employees. When I took a year off from college to earn some tuition money, I worked for a major supermarket where they hired three of us for a two-person job to ensure that we wouldn't get enough hours to qualify for benefits. It seemed pretty mean-spirited and weaselly to me, although I'm sure they could argue that 'market pressures' drove them to such 'strategic' employment practices. I left that job after six weeks with no regrets.
No good deed goes unpunished. -- (attributed to) Oscar Wilde