Zero-hours contract workers - the new reserve army of labour?
Karl Marx would see zero-hour contracts for what they are: rank exploitation - the type of working conditions that spawned trade unions in the first place
Read the whole article but here are some snippets:
Bodies representing employers say zero-hours contracts should be welcomed since without them unemployment would be even higher. Better, they say, that people should be working 20 hours one week and no hours at all the next rather than be on the dole.
Seen in this light, Vince Cable – who is conducting a review of the contracts – should be thinking of further deregulation of the labour market rather than contemplating measures that might reduce this "flexibility". He could, for instance, repeal the 1874 Factory Act that banned children under 10 from working in a manufacturing plant. He could rethink the 1847 10-hour Act that said children should not work for more than 10 hours a day. He could be really bold and say that Parliament erred in 1841 when it voted in favour of the Mines Act that prevented a child under 10 from working underground in a pit. Because, let's face it, all this legislation represented regulation of the labour market that made it less "flexible".
... there is an early 19th-century feel to zero-hours contracts. It is as though Britain has gone back to the future, returned to an age where the employer had the whip hand and where the rights that workers enjoyed under the feudal system had been removed..
Public sector employers, in particular, should be aware of the risks. The growing use of such contracts in care homes is the consequence of an ageing population and the drive to cut costs. This is a combustible mixture, and it doesn't take much imagination to envisage the likely outcome: more cases of neglect and cruelty