Imagine if your boss called you and said you were only needed for, and being paid for, five hours work next week. And probably not at all the following week. Would it be a problem making ends meet?
I have just been watching the live debate on zero hours contracts arranged by 38 degrees and attended by Vince Cable.
There were a number of times, when Vince looked a bit uncomfortable…you know the signs; fidgeting, increased swallowing and looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
Those present asked some excellent questions and there is no doubt that it gave him food for thought.
Here are a small sample of them, with my opinion (for what it’s worth) in bold italics
- How can people cope with instability in zero hours contracts when they have mental health issues and the jobcentre is pushing them towards those contracts. Vince says that the jobcentre will not use zero hours contracts as a “punishment”
Not sure what he means by that! All the jobcentre wants to do is get you off JSA; they won’t give a monkeys left bo**ock if you’ve got mental health issues.
- What mortgage company will give people on zero hours a mortgage. Vince says having a mortgage when you are on low pay is not feasible
Bloody Hell Vinny… controversial. So where do people on zero hours contracts live? with their mater and pater, under the bridge by the railway station, because lets face it you wouldn’t be able to afford the rent either would you?
- A question is asked about unscrupulous employers (someone referred to them as corporate scroungers) and what mechanisms will be in place to ask for guaranteed hours. Vince says you can make a written request for this (it’s in the legislation apparently – an employment lawyer in the audience states that people would not be aware of this) Vince says that in cases of dispute with requests for guaranteed hours, you could take legal action or ….. wait for it…involve your UNION REP!!!!!!!!
Two things wrong here Vinny m’boy:-
- You do realise that because of YOUR government, it’s expensive and difficult to take your boss to an employment tribunal and
- TRADES UNION REP…..Vinny what are you on? On the one hand you are endorsing trade union membership and on the other CaMORON is promising to reduce union powers. In fact he’s been bumping his gums about it ALL day on Sky News and the British Broadcasting
ConservativesCorporation following the Public Sector strike action.
- People were asking Vince about paying into a workplace pension and State Pension (people paid below the lower earning limit for National Insurance don’t pay National Insurance contributions) and how not being able to do so because of zero hours would just be storing problems for the future. He didn’t give an answer to this.
There’s no need for any one to worry though is there Vince. I mean, we’ll be working until we’re 70 or whatever so we’ll have shuffled off this mortal coil before we get our hands on the state pension.
- There is some talk as to how zero hours contracts interact with National Minimum Wage (NMW) One young man, a carer, states that his employer pays below NMW because he is not paid for the travel between clients. Vince responds enthusiastically about how employers who do not pay NMW can be prosecuted and made to pay back underpaid wages.
I would love to know how NMW is going to be policed when there are no blooming staff to do it because your government have decimated the HMRC workforce and there are now only a very small number of staff to carry out NMW inspections.
So what now? Well Vince took the 45,000 signatures from the 38 degrees petition to scrap zero hours contracts and promised to work with 38 degrees members regarding legislation around zero hours contracts.
I actually like Vince Cable, he’s one of the very few politicians who has had a proper job before becoming an MP (he was chief economist for Shell) but like most MP’s, I really don’t think he understands the effect that legislation he is involved in has on ordinary people