Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/17197
Zero-hour contract workers speak out as protests continue
"My working life started at Sports Direct when I was 15 years old," said Kieran Grogan. "It was minimum wage and a zero-hour contract. The conditions of zero-hour contracts leave you at the mercy of your employer. No guaranteed hours, no sick pay, no holidays, and no redundancy pay. If I dared to ask for a day off or if I couldn't work a shift that I was offered, soon I'd find whatever little work I had was reduced or nothing at all the next week."
20-year-old Gareth has worked on zero-hour contracts for the last four years: "I have been working on zero-hour contracts for the NHS and in Social Care for local councils, for my entire working life. In this time, I have never had a paid holiday, I have never received sick pay. I work pay cheque to pay cheque; I do not get any sort of job security or regular pay. One week I could work four or five shifts, the next one or none at all, and going six weeks without work is not uncommon. I have no control over when I work, and can be called in anything up to an hour before the start of a shift. I have no idea when the call will come, so it is impossible to plan my life or claim benefits I am entitled to.
"Nick Clegg and his Lib-Dem cronies have announced that they will 'look into these practices'. But the Lib-Dems, Tories, and the Labour Party have all had a so-called 'flexible' labour market for years. Why is it always 'flexible' for the bosses, but never for us?
"The Financial Times said if we want capitalism, than we're going to have to put up with zero-hour contracts. If the capitalist system can't afford to give us proper contracts, then we can't afford the capitalist system!"
Youth Fight for Jobs London organiser Helen Pattison announced further protests: "This Saturday, 10 August, Youth Fight for Jobs is meeting at Tottenham Court tube station at 12 noon, marching along Oxford Street targeting all the companies that use zero-hour contracts with lobbies and protests. We'll be going straight into shops and speaking directly to staff about how they can get organised in their workplace to fight for proper contracts with guaranteed hours on a living wage."
Other protests are planned across Britain:
London - Saturday 10 August, 12 noon Oxford Street: march to name and shame zero-contract employers. Meet at Tottenham Court Road tube station
Sports Direct HQ - Friday 9 August, 11am Shirebrook, North Derbyshire. Protesting at Shirebrook Market Place
Sheffield - Friday 9 August, 11.30am Meet at McDonalds on High Street
Northampton - Saturday 10th August, 11am Sports Direct
Dundee - Saturday 10 August, 1.30am Sports Direct, Nethergate
Leeds - Saturday 17 August
Bristol - Saturday 24 August, 11am Youth Fight for Jobs Zero-Hour Walk of Shame: March through Bristol city centre to name and shame zero-hour contract employers