All words presented in this blog are purely opinion, not fact - unless specifically stated otherwise in the post.

Friday 9 August 2013

Zero Hour Contract

So when I started this blog I had intended for there to be some politics to it. I don't mean that I wanted to only write stories people wanted to hear to get popular as quickly as possible. I mean that I wanted to write some stuff about politics, from the perspective of someone who doesn't particularly understand the system.
Suffice to say I haven't done that, not at all.
However I did see a news article yesterday regarding 'zero-hour contracts' and I thought that it was a good opportunity to get back into the whole thing.
For those of you who are unaware, a zero hour contract is exactly what it sounds like. A job contract with no guaranteed hours.
When used properly a zero hour contract allows an employee flexible hours to work, while giving the employer a guaranteed work force whenever they need it and only when they need it.
I've been on a zero-hour contract at a computer games shop as a Christmas temp. When I was there it was done well, I got enough hours a week to make it worth while, and as soon as I got a better offer there were no hard feelings for moving on. However from talking to other people this isn't always the case.
In practice, it appears to be abused more than it works. Companies hire people on zero hour contracts, use them for a couple of hours a week or month and demand that they take no other jobs in case they are needed in the office.

This is a big issue, stopping many people from earning a decent wage, but why is it in the news today? Why is this relevant to politics?
Recently, after a report by the Chartered institute of personnel and development, Ed Miliband - leader of the Labour - started a campaign against the use of ZHCs, stating publically at a speech in prominent Labour borough, Newham, that they are exploitative and should be banned.
He made this speech without realising that many Labour borough councils use Zero Hour contracts for their staff, including 546 people who are employed by the council of the borough he was talking in.

Now you may be asking me why I care. Why this is an issue that got me off my ass to blog about it. Well besides the point that it's funny (which is really all I need to blog about something) it's also a microcosm of what's wrong with our political parties.
Over dramatic you say? well I say Nay! and I do it while standing on a pedestal wearing a cape that's flapping in the wind.
This is a minor issue, its a really silly mistake and it's probably going to be forgotten in a week, but it's something that should never have happened, ever. Really, how hard would it have been for Miliband, or one of his aides to send an e-mail to the Labour Council mailing list to ask 'do we use zero hour contracts? or anything that could be construed as such by the press?
Politics used to mean something. People used to be careful not to make stupid mistakes. They didn't just say things on a whim without vetting it first.
And while we're on the subject; politicians used to do what they believe is right to make the nation better, even if that mean working with people from other parties. They didn't devote all their time to getting into office and none of their time to governing.
We didn't used to hire people because they look silly and make us laugh (I'm looking at you Borris). We used to hire people to represent us, not to make us laugh.

Or maybe I'm living in a fantasy land and none of that was true. Regardless, something is wrong.

- James

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