Zero hours contracts are a weapon of workplace control

zero hours contractsI’m glad Labour is making some good noises about zero hour contracts. It’s even better that they’ve met the stupid and entirely predictable letter from Tory supporting business chums that, shock horror, support the Tories with a signed letter of their own featuring people on zero hour contracts. For all their money advantage, so far Labour’s campaign is proving much cannier and smarter than the blue party’s scaremongering. Though it would be quite helpful if Labour MPs, Labour-run councils, and the Labour Party apparatus itself didn’t use them.

Anyway, zero hour contracts: as people who’ve never had and never will have to live on them engage in debate on their suitability and flexibility, and opine over businesses ill-prepared to offer people guaranteed hours like, you know, how they did more than 10 years ago, there’s an anecdote I’d like to share. Continue reading

Why Britain needs a pay rise

payriselogoTomorrow the TUC demonstration will be highlighting why Britain needs a pay rise. The extent to which people’s living standards have dropped is greater than ever before.

I was shocked when a Unite bus driver told me how every month his wife’s parents have to give them £200 to be able to pay their rent and it is common practise for bus drivers to be on benefits. Paul and his members are not shirkers or skivers and yet these are the people under attack from cuts and austerity.

Recently I have been to many Unite sector committees talking about the need to vote Labour at the General Election. What comes up time and time again is that although they won’t vote Tory there is no enthusiasm to vote Labour. Everyone is being affected by lower wages, attacks on working conditions, job insecurity, housing costs, and a higher cost of living. And yet they do not believe that Labour is the answer to the cost of living crisis. Continue reading