|Ed Miliband being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman last night.|
Photograph from the Telegraph website.
I have no fewer than four bar staff on my books that work casual shifts (usually just match days and events). One is an undergraduate. Two have full time jobs but want to supplement their income from that with the odd weekend or evening shift. The fourth hasn't worked for three months as she's been travelling in India.
To be honest it's they who give me the runaround, not the other way around: often when I need them most they're unavailable. The energy and flexibility they bring to the business makes it worth it though. If zero hours contracts were prohibited it would be almost impossible for me to employ them (bad for them) and very difficult to run this business (bad for me and my full time staff). I suppose I'd have to get agency staff in when I needed extra hands on deck. That wouldn't really work.
We all know career politicians like Ed Miliband have never done a proper job in their life, or run a business. But you'd think they'd make some effort to ensure their policies make sense in the real world. And if Miliband really does want to act on this, he'll have to speak to his parliamentary colleagues first: 40+ Labour MPs have staff employed on flexible, zero-hours contracts.
Important caveat: I agree that the practice of signing people up to zero hours contracts while prohibiting them from working for someone else is exploitative and should be unlawful. It already is: the current government legislated on that earlier in this parliament. Politicians should always strive to ensure the weak or not exploited by the poor. There isn't much point in having a government at all if they don't. But issues like this need to be dealt with carefully so as not to have unintended consequences. I appreciate some people reading this will be dyed-in-the-wool Labour supporters, or just dislike the current government. But even if that's the case, I hope you can see that Miliband's policy on zero hours contracts is a disaster.