unemployed while they are down.
At a time when the major media are covering the steady rise of Zero hours contracts, at a time when the
leader of the Incompetent party, Mr Miliband is coming out with a pledge to ban them under a Labour
government we have the Tories making them compulsory.
It seems that Labour MP Sheila Gilmore had sent a letter to the employment minister Esther McVey about
the situation regarding zero hours contracts and the Jobcentre. The answer was as follows:
JobCentre "coaches" would be able to "mandate to zero-hours contracts", although they would
have discretion about considering whether a role was suitable.
So individual Jobcentre employees who already hold the power of life over the unemployed now have the
right, at their discretion, to force a jobseeker into a Zero Hours Contract on the grounds that it is a job.
Plus for anyone who has ever been at the hands of the Jobcentres around the country the person you
deal with can change from week to week meaning that you could find yourself dealing with someone who
decides you should be in a Zero Hours job and threatens to take away your benefits whereas two weeks
ago they said you would not be forced into such a job.
Welcome to caring conservatism.
A freedom of information act request bought the following:
We expect claimants to do all they reasonably can to look for and move into paid work. If a
claimant turns down a particular vacancy (including zero-hours contract jobs) a sanction may
be applied, but we will look into the circumstances of the case and consider whether they had a
This is basically what was said above but specifically mentions Zero Hours Contracts. So in order to force
you into paid work you can be made to take a job that may not actually pay you or you could face sanction
of 13 weeks or more on whatever benefits you receive.
There is a great deal of concern at present about Zero Hours Contracts, a form of employment where you
are paid per hour worked but the employer does not guarantee you any hours and simply calls you in when
Some people working these find they are busy, others are not. But what those who say they are a good
thing keep ignoring is that they are completely under the control of the employer and leave the employee
with absolutely no control over their own lives.
Want to take a part time job to bring in a bit more money, how can you do that when you have no idea which
hours or days you may be working on the Zero Hours contract. When your weekly or monthly income is
entirely random how are you supposed to plan financially. We keep hearing the government saying that the
poor should use better financial planning and take control of their lives, how can you do that when you have
no idea day to day if you will be working or earning the next day?
But there is more. This is part of Universal Credit, that all singing and dancing system that is still years away
and will be massively over cost by the time it becomes universal. Oh and given the record of such government
schemes it will be slow, riddled with bugs and take weeks to make any changes.
There is another piece of wording in this new credit system that stands out:
Those below a "conditional earnings threshold" – normally 35 hours at the minimum wage – may
be asked to "carry out relevant actions" to raise their earnings, or again face sanctions.
Consider this sentence. A minimum 35 hours a week on national minimum or face sanctions, IE the loss of
benefits like say, working tax credits, the payment given to people who are in jobs that pay below the living
wage. How can you on the one hand force people into jobs that are Zero Hours Contracts with the threat of
loss of benefits if they refuse and then tell them that they are not working enough hours a week (something
they have absolutely no control over) and could face the loss of benefits anyway.
One point four million people are known to be on Zero Hours contracts, a number that is growing. Millions
more are working part time because they either cannot find full time jobs or need to work around children
or other responsibilities.
Millions of people not working 35 hours a week who can be at risk of loss of benefits for being in a situation
they may be powerless to change. The average zero hours job is apparently 25 hours a week. That’s ten less
than the minimum of 35 where you risk your benefits being cut. So what happens on weeks when the job is
quiet and you are not called into work.
At a time when many people are asking “Are Zero Hours Contracts Fair?” we have the Nasty party making
them compulsory. A contract that is most harmful to the working poor will now be forced on yet more of the
This is based on the Universal Credit system coming into force so it may well not happen, but if it does we will
be looking at yet another example of the Nasty party changing the system to punish those guilty of being
poor or unemployed. This will not hurt those who are abusing the system; this will not stop the benefit
cheats. They are already working the system to line their own pockets without being touched by any effort to
No these changes will hurt, yet again, the honest and law abiding jobseekers, the genuinely poor and needy,
those most in need.
The Nasty Party yet again working hard to maintain its reputation.