The Conservatives have done a lot to talk up a recovery but as with anything, the way it appears depends on where you stand to look at it. From where I stand it looks like the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The Government is full of posh boys looking after the vested interests of big business and the opposition is just as bad, ‘New Labour’ should be pronounced ‘Conservative Lite’. Social order breaks down when there is too much inequality, and inequality is on a sharp increase. Wealth and plutocracy protect the few against the many and this undermines order.
But what about all those jobs that have been created? I hear you ask.
A large percentage of the jobs which have been created are short term contracts, or part time or zero hour contracts and most of them are on the minimum wage. The chancellor has just released his Autumn Statement in which he lamented the fact that income tax revenues have not increased as much as economic activity. Surprise surprise … if you don’t pay people very much then they don’t pay much income tax, it doesn’t take a genius to work that one out.
But the bankers in the city are still receiving eye watering bonuses so from where the Conservatives are looking at things everything is right with the world. Mr Cameron couldn’t be more out of touch with ‘ordinary people’ unless he was on a different planet.
Zero hours contracts are the most iniquitous development of recent times. Zero hours contracts allow unscrupulous employers to circumvent employment laws which have taken many years to fight for. Let’s face facts here, most big employers would quite happily dispense with ‘unwarranted burdens on their profitability’ if they could possibly get away with it. Previous governments (mainly Labour governments) have imposed the employment legislation on them, very little of it is voluntary. Wages and conditions have been fought for over a long period by the unions, and although it must be admitted that some union claims in the 1970’s got fairly outrageous, many of the benefits we now enjoy are the result of prolonged battles between unions and employers. No employer wants to pay any more than the absolute minimum necessary, and every government or union demand is seen as a threat.
Zero hours contracts allow unscrupulous employers to take working conditions and job security back to the Victorian era. Is this what David Cameron means by getting back to good old fashioned values?
It has been said that zero hours contracts offer greater flexibility, this is true but that flexibility is almost always flexibility for the employer and not for the employee.
Don’t like a particular employee? If he’s on a zero hours contract you don’t have to sack him and risk an industrial tribuneral, just give him no more hours and forget him.
Want to make someone redundant but don’t want to pay redundancy money? If she’s on a zero hours contract then it’s not a problem just give her no more hours and forget about her.
Want to insist that all your employees turn up to work every day just on the off chance that you have some work for them? With zero hours contracts that is simple, if someone doesn’t turn up then they don’t get chosen to do the work.
Want to impose unreasonable conditions on your employees? If they are on zero hours contracts then thats not a problem. Anyone who objects is just dumped, forgotten about and replaced.
Zero hours contracts should be banned or at the very least be properly regulated, but this is unlikely to happen with the Conservatives in power, and it would take industrial action and if those who are taking the action are on zero hours contracts then they will just be dumped and replaced, how can you withdraw your labour if the employer will just employ someone else in your place?
If you are on zero hours then zero is all you can withdraw.