Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/17263
Debating zero-hour contracts on Radio Five
James Evans, Swansea
With around one million workers on zero-hour contracts (over four times the amount previously estimated), it seems that the figures of employment released by the government have to be questioned.
I myself hold a zero-hour contract, and although I do get sick and holiday pay, my hours are never guaranteed.
This is fantastic news for Iain Duncan-Smith, for I am another university graduate who is 'employed'.
The reality is that I cannot even plan on whether I can go to the local pub, so I cannot even start to imagine how hard it would be to have responsibility for children while holding a zero-hours contract.
This is in fact what Steven Nolan said to me when I phoned in to speak on his BBC Radio Five Live show.
One of his guests promoted zero-hours. He stated that people don't have to take these contracts, so they shouldn't moan as they have a job.
Well, I'm not sure if he was aware, but there is somewhat a shortage of jobs in this country since the financial crisis of 2008, and there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel as of yet.
How on earth a wealthy man could sit there and say "be thankful for that contract" is beyond me. It is not low paid workers who caused this financial mess, it was the overinflated financial centre in London, which eventually burst with devastating consequences worldwide.
The guest asked me why a company would employ me to sit there and 'twiddle my thumbs' while losing money.
Though the restaurant that I work in can have quiet periods, I only need to have sold four two-course meals in order to have paid for my wages for that shift.
I went on to say that I was doing them a favour by working for the company. The guest seemed flummoxed, how could I be doing them a favour? They pay my wages, but that company put up an advert for a job, I applied, got the interview, and got the job.
They needed someone to do a certain set of tasks, and I fulfil that role. They pay me for a reason, and it seems that employers tend to forget that.
I had offers from many different places, yet I chose to work for them, and for that I would like to feel valued.