Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Labour wins on zero-hours contracts

Last year, a popular campaign by unions targeting employers forced the government to act on zero-hours contracts. But rather than outlaw them, they did what they usually do: tried to spin their way out of the problem while doing nothing. That strategy fell apart for them last week, when their support partners withdrew support. But the government needed to pass the law, and now, Labour has forced amendments to ensure that zero-hours contracts are eliminated:

Changes will be debated in Parliament today – but a deal done between National and Labour is expected to see most parties, unions and employers happy with the changes.

A Labour amendment will mean that people will only be told they have to be available for work if they are given set hours.

Previously, that "availability clause" would be in their contract even if no set hours were provided.

Mr Lees-Galloway told ONE News: "This switches this bill around from something that entrenches zero hour contracts to a bill that will eliminate zero hour contracts."

Its a defeat for National, and a defeat for PR as policy. But most importantly, its a win for those workers stuck on zero hours, who will now have to be given some certainty (and to the extent that they're not, will no longer be prevented from getting it from a better employer).

Of course, National could have done this from the beginning if they wanted to. The fact that they didn't speaks volumes about their real attitude to these exploitative, one-sided contracts.