Unite is pleased that around 120 much needed jobs are likely to be created, and it’s right that levers are used to attract investment. However, we have got to demand that in return for taxpayers’ money, zero -hours contracts will be banned completely and that trade unions must have access to the workforce as conditions.
The Scottish government when asked directly on these issues in parliament stated that it will “attach conditionality to as many grants, funding streams and public contracts as we can by the end of this parliamentary session.” In our opinion this is evasive and elastic in terms of the timeline for implementation. But the government said a ban would “impact more people than it would help”, arguing zero -hours worked well for students, carers and retirees.
“They provide flexibility for both employers and individuals, such as carers, students, or retirees,” a business department spokesman added. “ Zero -hours workers regularly work through the night for low pay, putting their health at risk.
Workers on zero -hours contracts are still entitled to statutory annual leave and the national minimum wage. Although such contracts have been controversial, many say they provide flexibility to people such as students, parents and those with other caring responsibilities.
These contracts allow employers to cut costs by hiring staff with no guarantee of work, hours or pay. From shift patterns that change every week to hours cut at the last minute, planning your life on a MHC is often a nightmare.
We want workers to get guaranteed hours, so they can pay the bills and save for the future. Also known as casual contracts, they mean workers are always at the beck and call of employers to work whenever they’re needed, which can often be at the last minute.
People like the caterer who earned nothing some weeks because of the irregular shifts she was forced to work. Or the nanny who couldn’t rent a property because her earnings were suddenly cut in half when her hours changed at the last minute.
It’s not right that so many are unable to build a firm foundation to their lives because their jobs are insecure, or they can’t find a home they can afford. Finally, workplace perks such as vouchers for essential buys, including discounts on food shopping can make a huge difference.
Recent Labor Force Survey figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate that the numbers on zero -hours contracts have risen from 131,000 in 2007 to 200,000 last year. The ONS says, however, that this probably underestimates their incidence, for many people are unfamiliar with the term and thus may not answer questions accurately.
My own son, for instance, has been working on such a contract for two years but did not realize this till I pointed it out to him. Unions have attacked these contracts as exploitative, giving employees uncertain incomes, little security and only limited access to benefits such as training, pensions and paid holidays.
The TUC and Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham have rather predictably called for them to be banned. Clearly the recession has increased pressure on both private and public sector employers to cut costs.
Many types of service employment are subject to fluctuations in demand and zero -hours contracts are one way to minimize fixed costs. But they are an important element in offering job opportunities to some groups who would not be able to work regular hours, they offer useful work experience to young people, and their growth has helped keep unemployment down in the UK at a time when most other European countries are seeing appalling levels of joblessness.
It would be unreasonable on that basis to expect businesses to promise fixed hours to its workforce. These and other spurious arguments are being used to proliferate zero -hours contracts on an unprecedented level in the UK today.
The Office for National Statistics reports that the number of us employed with these contracts has now risen to a staggering 744,000 : a rise of 19% in the past year, despite being heavily criticized during the election. Yet the growing trend, which British employers love, is steadily eroding what used to be called “stable jobs”.
It is clear that nobody can actually live on these low hourly wages So why should we consider zero -hours contracts wrong and call for them to be abolished? First, what some call “the preparing” are increasingly forced to endure such awful lives of stress that they are simply buckling under the pressure.
To complete a task successfully, such as serving a drink, actually involves a number of layers of indirect work that are also required. Hence, to the problem with the otherwise convincing arguments about “empty labor” and “presenters” that have appeared recently.
Modern office life is rightly derided for being wastefully padded out with moments of staring into space, chatting to friends and paying bills online. This criticism quietly assumes that the zero -hours’ fixation with direct labor is the way most productive jobs operate.
But as Thomas Pretty suggests in his study of inequality in the late capitalist age, there is something decidedly pre-modern about this phase neoliberalism, with its plutocrats, oligarchs and renters back in full swing. Zero -hours contracts are part of a broader ideological system in which the veneer of economic rationality is deployed to hide indefensible inequalities and eye-watering levels of wealth.
• Peter Fleming will be in conversation with Joanna Biggs, author of All Day Long, on Wednesday 23 September, 7pm, Sutton House, Homer ton High Street, London Zero -hours contracts have been banned in New Zealand in a unanimous parliamentary vote in a decision that union leaders say will affect hundreds of thousands of workers in the country.
Politicians from across the spectrum voted to outlaw the practice of hiring worker with no guarantee of minimum hours. Mike Green, leader of the Unite union in New Zealand, said that fast food workers around the world were closely following the parliamentary decision as many had joined forces to support the local campaign last year.
The chief executive, Mark Anderson, said: “Europe’s largest independent regional airline has been unable to overcome significant funding challenges to its business. Corbyn wishes Amazon a happy birthday In a card sent to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on the company's 25th birthday, Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn writes: “You owe the British people millions in taxes that pay for the public services that we all rely on.
The move comes after anger at the announcement British passports would be produced by Franco-Dutch firm Gem alto when De La Rue’s contract ends in July. The British firm said Gem alto was chosen only because it undercut the competition, but the UK company also admitted that it was not the cheapest choice in the tendering process.