Can you be a flexible part time worker?

As a mature student heading back to study I’m looking for some meaningless part time work to top up my student loan. You will recall from my previous blogs the first barrier is actually getting an interview. I’m fed up of doing online assessments for computer to say no. The second barrier is finding part time work to fit around a uni timetable ( even bearing in mind it’s true what everyone says that you are barely ever in lectures). I imagine the only people who want part time work are people like me in that we want part time work to fit around something else wether that be studies, raising children,caring for someone or to fit in around other family members work/life habits. There is an abundance of part time jobs out there. I’m sure employers in some industries prefer 4 x ten hour part timers to 1 x 40 hour full timer for some sneaky reduction in the tax they pay or some other benefit to them. You can let businesses have their devious ways if it means creating lots of job opportunities. The problem is they only want to offer you 8 hours work a week but they want you to be completely flexible about when you can work. Take for example the pub chain Wetherspoons. They offer 8 hours a week kitchen staff but in exchange you have to be available between 0600 and 0000 Monday to Sunday. How does that help a student/parent/ carer? These are no better then zero hours contracts. Asda (apparently one of the UK’s best employers) have a compulsory weekend working policy in all their contracts so a parent who wanted to work 10am- 2pm for 5 days a week would have to have a day off mid week and do Saturday or Sunday instead. Surely though there is an abundance of students to work weekends so there is no operational reason why Asda’s parent workers couldn’t just work weekdays with students plugging the weekend gaps. I can understand how a small employer might struggle but the amount of staff an Asda store employs should make it a doddle. Just on the subject of draconian employment issues, did you know Primark staff have to call their bosses Mr or Mrs…

You would think that local authority employers would be better but take Metro, West Yorkshire’s passenger transport authority which is made up of the local councils are looking for a customer service advisor for one full day a week but when I enquired which day it was they told me it could be any and they would discuss it at the interview. Do I waste my time and Metro’s time applying for a job that I might not be available to do?

I’m no communist leaning socialist workers party member. I think the militant unions (like the RMT) are destroying industries where as weaker ones like USDAW representing shop workers are not worth you’re £3 a week subs the little power they have. I’m on the side of the business. I just think they could be a bit fairer with their part time colleagues. Most employees (except train drivers) will show a bit of flexibility in extreme circumstances but in normal mode surely businesses can plan their resources to be a bit more specific which 8 hours they need you.



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