Yes certainly, most of the voting public will say the same thing – Zero Hour Contracts are a worrying faze which needs to be properly controlled. Is this because we know completely what we are talking about, or is it because the media-assisted Labour campaign to smear the current government is all we actually have to go on?
Labour have made the issue one of their latest General Election battlegrounds, probably because their previous one (namely VAT, and the potential for a further rise under the Tories) was blown out of the water. They would consistently throw figures around on the various media platforms, but not totally telling the truth – as if we would ever expect them to really.
To ban Zero Hour Contracts outright, as Labour appear to be suggesting, might not be the best thing either. Let’s look at some interesting FACTS regarding Zero Hour Contracts:
- No legal definition of a Zero Hour Contract exists, even the Office for National Statistics has two definitions.
- There are estimated to be 697,000 people on Zero Hour Contracts in the UK (not 800,000 or 1 million, as some Labour representatives would like to have us believe), in the format the general public would most recognise.
- The average person on a Zero Hours Contract works 25 hours per week (obviously not all).
- Of those on Zero Hour Contracts, a third WANT the flexibility this contract offers them. So let’s take a conservative 230,000 off the 697,000 figure.
- There are a great many students working Zero Hour contracts, enjoying the flexibility it gives them, complementing their studying timeframes. This has been estimated at 17%, another 118,000 workers.
- 70,000 Workers who work in Labour run Councils are on Zero Hour Contracts.
- 66 Labour MP’s employ staff on Zero Hour Contracts (there only are 256 Labour MP’s currently).
So, given the fact that there is no real agreement on what constitutes a Zero Hours Contract, there is a large proportion who are suited by these contracts, and the fact that most people are better off working than not if we intend to have an economy which is not crippled by debt – surely the Labour attitude which is being so widely reported is nothing but scaremongering and bluster, yet again.
If we take the figures as quoted above: 697,000 less those who want it, less the students, less those Labour employ themselves, we are left with 275,000 workers who are on a Zero Hours Contract and who probably want off it – but is this enough to be making this such a primary issue in the run up to the General Election – particularly when the last government walked into a financial nightmare but still managed to create 1.9 million more jobs?
Have UK Labour actually got a policy, other than the over-hyped Mansion Tax, which can stand any sort of litmus test? How can we trust them to deliver on their promise of “balancing the books by 2020?”
I’m going to need some more figures from Labour, backed up properly, and not just a knee-jerk reactive ‘general policy’ which they think might gain them some votes – otherwise I’m sticking with my current hashtag #DontTrustLabour.