Zero hours contracts work for many staff and businesses
So now our councils are being accused of 'slave labour' by having employees on casual contracts – how ridiculous. If anything, how can any council not operate with some staff on these contracts without wasting millions of pounds of ratepayers' money engaging too many on permanent contracts? The union masters bay blindly about these casual, 'zero hour' contracts despite the benefits for so many people, from those who help out in local hotels, cafes and restaurants to suit both parties to project-orientated cover. I expect the hotels and restaurants which provide food for union conferences are also engaging 'zero-hour' staff to deal with the extra demands at the time – but so that's allowed is it Mr Roden? I'd also like to see him offering his barber, baby-sitter, gardener, painter, decorator, electrician, plumber, decorator, permanent contracts as well, to give them some job security – what's so different?
The criticisms levelled are ignorant of the facts and inevitably those making the accusations have never employed anyone in their lives. We run an hotel and have a mixture of permanent staff and casuals who enjoy being involved at the busy times. We couldn't justify offering the casuals permanent contracts as we have no idea how busy we're going to be as the year develops. Even our children work on casual hours and indeed do so for others when there is a need too, welcoming the extra money and the sense of worth they feel from an opportunity which wouldn't exist otherwise. I'm reasonably experienced at employing people too – I had to do some calculations recently and realised I had employed over 350 people over the years in my various guises.
Let's just think who also might have casual contracts in the public sector. What about teachers who do supply work, nursing staff on 'bank' or even those engaged to help the count at elections – what permanent contracts should they be given, I wonder?
Flexibility works both ways and it is about time the unions criticising these invaluable flexible elements of our working environment recognised some of the benefits to all parties as opposed to trying to impose rigidity which will lose working opportunities. It is similar to the situation where employers (including councils) had to start resorting to short-term contracts because the employment laws have become so oppressive and it's impossible to remove unsuitable employees. Short-term contracts are worse than casual ones, but they are certainly understandable. Conversely, two of our summer casual staff have just been offered permanent, all-year-round full-time jobs because the opportunities arose, their circumstances have changed and they demonstrated their capabilities to us.
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Free market competition means employees can go to a better job if theirs pays too little or gives them too few hours. Casual contracts staff still accrue benefits.