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Opinion : Was your day a zero hours day?

| September 15, 2015


After a punishing morning at work I was looking forward to my regular lunchtime walk around Wycombe town centre.

Making my way down the High Street my good self happened to meet one of my friends and we wandered around to the grounds of the Parish Church to sit and eat our sandwiches.

I asked my friend how his work was going. Apparently he wasn’t working today indeed in the words of my friend ‘today is a zero hours day’.

Oh dear. It seems my friend has one of those awful zero hours contracts and his employer did not have any work for him today. No work means no money and what’s worse he can’t get work elsewhere to make up for the lost time.

Surely this is not fair? Isn’t it about time such restricted contracts were made illegal after all hiring staff only to keep them without work seems terribly unfair.

I get a feeling that some employers take on more employees than they need and use the zero hours clause in their contracts to give their staff a reminder of who is in charge. Step out of line, say something wrong, fail to work hard enough and the next day will be a ‘zero hours day’.

Sadly the powers that be seem unwilling to outlaw the restricted contracts which is a shame.

When looking at a job advert it’s often hard to tell if it’s a zero hours contract. I think it’s about time employers were forced to state clearly if jobs being advertised are zero hours or not.

I felt quite guilty when the clock on the Parish Church struck two and it was time for me to return to my work leaving my friend sitting on the bench.

The great travesty of course is that an able bodied person who was willing to work was not able to simply because of the type of contract they had signed.

Employers should act responsibly and make sure they have just enough staff to keep their business running. Handing out more contracts that there is work to do is not fair on the employees.

Maybe where employers use zero hours contracts they should be forced to publish figures on the total number of working hours in the business each week and the total number of employees they have hired to cover those hours. This it would give prospective job seekers an indication of whether or not they were likely to have work.

I can tell you that even a paltry income is better than no income at all and zero hours contracts are no laughing matter.

What do you think?

*My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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