Thursday, 2 April 2015
We used to call it temping, or agency or seasonal/occasional work, or putting in the odd shift at the local restaurant/café/pub. For many who have no desire or need to be in a permanent job but find the extra income useful at times, the idea of having one or more employers for whom you could put in a few hours a few days, now and then, is a good fit for their lifestyle. Stay-at-home mums, pensioners, students, or even those who spend half the year pursuing their dreams – surfers, backpackers, ski instructors, explorers and many such non-conformists – sometimes just don’t want to be tied down to a career. In many agrarian societies it is the main mode of employment.
But now, in typical you-really-couldn’t-make-it-up fashion, Labour, the supposed party of the workers is attacking work. If the Tories were brainstorming a way to ridicule the instincts of modern Labour politicians, this would have been rejected as too silly for words. Ban zero-hours contracts, when many Labour councils use them? Or do they just call them ‘single-hour’ contracts, or casual work? And of course they would never allow the facts to get in the way of a campaign fib, would they?
For a start, the CIPD concluded the majority on such ‘contracts’ were happy with them. In addition, Labour have been saying they would ban them for a full twenty years now without having done a thing during thirteen long years in office. And for a delicious flourish to finish, here’s Chuka Umunna singing their praises quite recently. Come on guys, get a grip; if you want to be taken seriously as an opposition you have to better than just saying ‘no’ all the time.
They are like Network Rail: Policy delayed due to the wrong kind of work on the tracks? Or is it the words they struggle with; when does ‘employ’ become ‘exploit’? Does it depend on your allegiance? I have to say I’m impressed with the loyalty of Labour voters. “We are the party of business!” Ed declares and a hundred big business bosses write an open letter to say “Like hell you are!” So he changes tack and denounces the Tories’ EU referendum pledge as “Downright dangerous for Britain” and are immediately assailed by a million voices demanding a voice in the decision.
Doncaster Council, do what?
It’s pitiful to watch and yet their poll ratings hardly shift a point. Ed says there is an epidemic of zero-hours contracts and ignores the denials and shrugs from those who know and carries right on trying to micro-engineer how others should order their lives. And his idiot followers fly the flag in the face of reason. There’s an epidemic all right – an epidemic of stupidity.