Zero hours contracts – 21st Century Slavery?

Vince Cable
Vince Cable

There is an emerging movement against the employment practices of an increasing number of employers who are using zero hour contracts with onerous clauses requiring exclusivity from their employees under these terms.

Zero hours contracts are exploitative and reflect the shortcomings in the management of the economy. While I agree that flexible working is essential for the development of the service sector in all it’s forms, and the service sector that is most likely to drive the economy forwards – but why is it seen as acceptable that the disadvantaged (and I feel disenfranchised) have to pick up the tab?

These contracts reinforce the divide between the haves and the have-nots, are we going to see a whole new class between the employed and the unemployed – the bonded employee?  This seems a retrograde step as far as I can see – returning to the Dickensian conditions if not slavery.

Further it is in efficient in the long run – services need to offer quality as well as flexibility – holding employees hostage is unlikely to deliver quality or a sustainable business model.  These conditions should also strengthen the hand of the unions, giving them a real injustice to fight and workers a reason to join.



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