The world of work has certainly changed in the last decade. Like it or not one of the debating points in the current election is zero hour contracts…..Labour fighting for the working man are against them, viagra
One thing that is certain is that the zero hour contract is now a talking point that never existed ten years ago and the arguments for and against them have been and continue to be well debated.
Okay, in the service driven industry that seems to make up such a large part of our economy – businesses want flexibility with their workforce. But, the strange thing is businesses also want staff loyalty, they moan about change, they don’t like the costs of training someone, they definitely don’t like it if a worker resigns or doesn’t show for work and to be frank the idea of having unhappy workers is not what a business owner gets out of bed for in the morning. How many times have I heard “our people are the most important thing”? So why not make a commitment to those people? Why not start the working relationship with commitment? Or put it another way – can a business ask for loyalty and commitment when workers feel it is not a two-way street?
Maybe this is an age thing – but from my first job (when I was working part time in a shop) right through to now running my own company I have never been given or offered a zero hour contract. What I have had in my previous contracts is a clause about what happens if there is a shortage of work….among other things my hours could be reduced or worse I am made redundant with a view it protects the health and wellbeing of the business….sounds like, smell likes and acts like a zero hour contract!
I guess the whole thing comes down to give and take, maybe the balance of power has become skewed between employer and employee. Sending a part time worker home halfway through a shift because things are “a bit quiet today” just sounds plain mean – especially if the original commitment with the worker was made but days before. The employee probably feels that the employer is backing out on their earlier commitments. I don’t hear of the employee leave a shift halfway through because things are ‘a bit boring today’ – but maybe that does happen!
I don’t want to be too negative, in some cases the zero hour contract works well for both employer and employee. I think these positive experiences are because the business and the worker have good lines of communication and clearly understand each other’s needs and requirements and they do not take each other for granted.
Moving forward, flexibility with the workforce is all well and good, but when zero hour contracts are not mutually beneficial for both employer and employee….someone needs to go back to the drawing board and maybe an old fashioned approach is what is required.