‘We will give people stronger employment rights from day one in a job, end exploitative zero hours’ contracts and create new sectoral collective bargaining rights, including mandatory collective bargaining for companies with 250 or more employees. We will create new employment and trade union rights to bring security to the workplace and win better pay and conditions for everyone. We will strengthen working people’s representation at work and the ability of trade unions to organise so that working people have a real voice at work. And we will put the defence of social and employment rights, as well as action against undercutting of pay and conditions through the exploitation of migrant labour, at the centre of the Brexit negotiations agenda for a new relationship with Europe’.
The chance to find employment that gives you a wage that you can survive on should be a basic human right, shouldn’t it? Think about it, you are offering your time, your strength or intellect, your commitment to someone and in exchange for giving up this time and energy you expect to be compensated. The person or business is obviously in need of someone’s service, otherwise the position or job would not exist. There is nothing inherently wrong with negotiating for the best advantage, after all humans have been bartering since before recorded history. But what is happening in today’s society is not barter, it’s slavery under a different name. Harsh? Make up your own mind after reading on, and do, please, check the facts.
As Capitalism spread it created conditions that were not the normal. People who used to work the land were brought in to cities to work in places such as mills, collieries, steelworks, coke burners etc. The conditions were, in a lot of cases, atrocious. You can see the conditions and read about them. Men, women, children, employed in dangerous, dirty factories, with no provision for them if they were sick or injured. People thrown out of their tied housing when they could no longer work.
Out of these conditions came the Fabian society, unions, and finally the Labour party.
These unions and the Labour party fought for those with no voice. They had sick pay, weekends, holiday entitlement, safety regulations, limits to hours of work, child labour restrictions, employment protection, employment tribunals, the right of protest (or strike), severance pay, pension contributions, redundancy pay, all these and more became LAW, because the Labour party fought, and fought hard for them.
Now they are having to fight for them again. Zero hour contracts are an abomination in any society that calls itself progressive, caring and civilised. But just stating a fact is not proving it. Zero hour contracts effectively tie a worker to one business that may or may not offer them work and wages. A zero-hour contract guarantees the employer access to a worker whenever they want one, without having to pay a retainer. This means that the employer does not have to pay work place pensions contributions, does not have to take out PAYE or NI at source, in fact they can employ as many people as they want, thus making it look as though they are a large business, without having to pay anyone anything if they want.
Meanwhile the worker on this contract cannot plan for their life. They cannot get another job as this breaches the terms of the first contract, they are limited on benefits as JSA requires them to be available for work, which this zero-hour contract precludes. They cannot get a mortgage as they cannot demonstrate consistent employment. It is ironic that the firms employing people on these contracts use the number of workers they employ as a demonstration of how sound they are to get loans. They cannot plan time off, even if they could afford it, as many of these contracts have no provision for holidays, sick days, or any other ‘benefit’.
Therefore, Labour under Jeremy Corbyn will be putting together legislation to outlaw these practices.
Now if you are employed by someone, or unemployed and seeking work ask yourself these questions, and answer them honestly.
1) Do you believe you should have the right to compensation if injured at work?
2) Do you believe you should have the right to paid holiday time?
3) Do you believe you should have protection against unfair or prejudicial dismissal?
4) Do you believe your contract of employment should state your wage, and the number of hours you work?
5) Should you have the right to take sick leave, without having to compensate your employer?
If you’re an employer please also consider your own employees, and ask yourself, are these basic rights and freedoms, so hard one over many years, not perfectly reasonable?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you MUST vote Labour. Because they are the only party committed to ensuring these basic rights are protected, and not sold away.