Zero-hours contracts: The end of a secure working day?

zero hour contract

Zero, it’s a number that can be good or bad but so called “zero-hours” contracts have grown in popularity recently. The contract is basically a way for companies to employ people on an on-demand basis, for example that the employees gets called in whenever they are needed. For a long time, these have been accepted as a good way to get people into employment, even if it is just small amounts of money. On the other hand, Andy Burnham has called for a promise that if the Labour Party were to get into power, they would ban this type of employment.

In my opinion, there is no problem in doing it this way, as long as it does provide work for people who would otherwise be on benefits. I agree that employing them and not calling them in is absolutely stupid but if this method provides employment for people, it’s worth keeping it. One thing is for sure. It won’t change under this government, even though it is an issue to be discussed about unemployment.

So far, there has been no proper response for the Labour Party but with Council Elections coming up, it may be something they will address after May 2nd. Mr Burnham, who is Shadow Secretary of State for Health, spoke out against zero-hours contracts on 29th April but he isn’t the only one that opposed them. In an article earlier in April, Guy Standing (do not adjust your sets, that is his real name) spoke out against them in an article which was in The Guardian.

For many people, working on a zero hours contract helps them, making it more flexible for when they can work. This is especially helpful when they have other work, such as college or university. Perhaps, also for families who have young kids who may need looking after? In fact, for a lot of people, it allows them to get a balance of home life and work. Whether it’s working in a pub or some other type of part-time work, it gives younger people and families a source of income to keep up with expenses that may occur.

In my opinion, it would be something that would have to have cross-party agreement for anything to happen. If the government is to avoid another rise in unemployment, it will need to work on all sorts of ways to get people into work, no matter what sector.

The first step, however, is to train people up to be ready to fill vacant positions. I have to admit, doing pub work, which is a large part of zero-hours work, doesn’t require all that much training but the long term aim would be to get people into better, full time jobs. At least for students, zero-hours work is good in the short-term but not particularly ideal after leaving university. I know that for me and for many other students, it would be better to be doing something constructive than sitting around and not gaining skills or earning money.

Overall, I think that although there may be some issues with these types of contracts, they actually help many people get into some sort of work. For a lot of us, if we have an income, no one minds when or how we earn it but perhaps that’s because I’m a student. It might be different for someone a few years older who doesn’t like not having anything to do. The good news is, touch wood, the coalition has no plans for scrapping it yet. That keeps them employed and zero-hours keeps us employed. Everyone’s happy (almost).

BY: SHOUT OUT UK

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