I have been contacted by a number of constituents re their employment circumstances.
Readers should be aware that in Britain today 1 million people in work, at least 2000 of them in the Mansfield area, have no fixed income or fixed hours of work with their employer.
At least 50% of them are under 30 years of age, earn between £6-£8 per hour and are paid an income of less than £500 per month. Zero hours contracts are the latest mutation in such precarious employment practices, which are increasing the casualness of labour and expending employment practices such as bogus self-employment, as a way of cutting employment costs.
Such contracts are often found alongside of agency worker’s agreements which contain fewer rights in the workforce.
One of the key areas that is causing concern is the rise in franchising.
This type of business arrangement is becoming increasingly common in the high street, particularly amongst fast food outlets.
Cuts in local authority budgets are also extenuating their use as some councils seek to reduce their costs by outsourcing services, often to the lowest bidder.
A halt needs to be called on this accelerating culture which isn’t good for the area, or local people caught up on it.
At best, it’s a subsidy on employment costs with the state picking up the tab with employees whom cannot live on their meagre wages.
The law needs to be changed to define employees at work to ensure delivery of the national minimum wage and associated rights such as holidays, maternity and sick pay.
We also need to revoke changes to employment tribunal fees which have priced out justice for workers who now have to pay £1,200 to access and determine their rights.
Finally Government at both local and national levels should in future only award contracts to employers, including themselves, who commit to fair employment practices.
Sir Alan Meale MP
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