Zero hours contracts: my experience and other unscrupulous working practices 

I’m not completely against zero hours contracts. As a mature student I am employed by a few employers (they can all go screw if they think I’m signing exclusivity agreements!) and it suits me to pick and choose when I work to top up my student loan. I can see how they would not benefit someone on benefits although in my opinion this is the fault of the local authorities and Job Centres for not having not an ounce of flexibility in benefits applications to change from week to week. The minute you have a minute change in circumstances your housing benefit application or other benefits are cancelled and you start again and have to wait weeks for the cash in the meantime your landlord kicks you out because you haven’t paid your rent. There really is no incentive to go to work unless it’s secure, long-term and well paid. Here is a radical idea. Why don’t we make zero hours contracts work? Instead of Red Ed trying to dictate how business does business by banning them why don’t we modernise (and computerise) the welfare system (making huge public spending savings at the same time cutting out these public sector jobsworths) and allow people on benefits to take zero hours work. At the end of the month the benefit claimant logs on to their benefit account (much like the much widely used and trusted online banking systems) types in how much they earned, the system does a quick calculation and adjusts the benefit in an instance. It uses the same formulas the jobsworths take four weeks to work out! Simples!

There is in my opinion a much bigger employment issue practised by big companies who obviously see they will be crucified for having zero hours contracts so go for another sneaky underhand employment practice. This is when they create lots of 8 hour part-time jobs. This benefits the company as a large employee base creates flexibility ( one full timer off sick is worse then a couple of part timers off ill) and lots of part-timers reduces the tax bill. Part-time jobs are not a problem. On the contrary they offer flexibility to employees with other commitments, or they should. Instead however big “reputable” companies create 8 hour part time jobs but expect complete flexibility out of their employees. 8 hours is nothing so is good for parents to fit around school hours or students around study but you tell the employer you’re a parent, carer or student and you’re immediately out of the running for the job because they want someone with nothing else in their lives ready for when the employer wants them to do 8 hours in the week! This is a far bigger and widespread problem then zero-hours! Obviously business needs some flexibility in its employees but you can’t offer minuscule contracts and advertise them demanding maximum flexibility from employees. Employees are people,with more to life then work!

As I mentioned my zero hours work suits me but one of my employees,G4S are still cunts! It’s good that I don’t  particularly need the work or inclusion on my CV and hence references so I can speak freely about this joke of a company who apparently in the limited training they provide boast of being an amazing company to their clients and staff. Just don’t mention the London Olympics security fiasco! They have a computer system where I can see all the available work and select suitable shifts. No problems so far. They then hound you by text and e-mail sometimes over ten messages a day when they are struggling to fill shifts. It’s not just “can you work, we are short staffed and would appreciate your help” messages either. They expect you to text back either way and offer a good explanation why you can’t work making a mockery of the whole official computer system to select work. No mate, you have given me a zero hours contracts because you can’t be arsed to employee proper staff and don’t respect your employees enough to offer holiday and sick pay but don’t then think when you can’t satisfy your clients I’m going to be at your beck and call! I’m not sure they appreciated my reply to why I couldn’t steward at the foot all match ” because I’m watching it on Sky at home”.

P

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