Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Zero time for zero hours

Today's Morning Star reports on Unison's fight against private care firm "Choices Care at Home" over the imposition of zero hours contracts (http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/86570).

A zero hours contract may be appropriate for casual employees (for example "pool" workers who may be available to provide relief cover without obligation on either side).

However the imposition of such contracts on employees providing a regular and continuous public service is nothing more nor less than a deliberate - and outrageous - attempt to circumvent the few legal rights of employees.

From recent local experience I have seen the unaccountable power such contracts give to managers, who can lawfully stop offering work to an employee on a whim, sending them home without pay - and without effective legal redress.

Building union organisation in such circumstances of casualisation requires that activists risk their employment in an environment in which the legal and procedural rights relied upon by public sector workers are a distant dream.

It is a disgrace that public authorities give work to firms that want to take employee relations back to the nineteenth century.

Good luck to the South Lanarkshire branch in taking this fight on.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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