Are Zero Hours Contracts Good For Society?

zero hour contracts imageZero hours contracts are increasing massively in the UK, and I guess that is no surprise considering the responsibility it removes from employers and the costs it removes from their businesses.

According to The Independent, 90% of McDonalds workers are on zero hour contracts.

John Hall writes “The admission indicates the fast-food chain is potentially the largest zero-hours employer in the UK’s private sector, with 82,800 contracted staff not guaranteed work or a stable income.”

I have no beef with McDonalds, in fact they use to sustain me in the early 1980’s when I was running my first business (a courier company working all over London), but what worries me is the trend from solid employment to ‘no responsibility’ employment.

Our society is moving away from ‘social’ and solidly on to ‘business’. It is under the misguided belief that everything should revolve around private companies regardless of its social impact.

That somehow ‘private’ does it better than ‘public’ (of course, given the track record of the past: British Railways, British Leyland, British Whatever, it is no wonder).

Most of us in the UK voted for Thatcher in 1979 because of the undemocratic nature of unions at the time (in spite of the hidden agenda).

It is no longer a political thing either. Tony Blair continued what Thatcher started and David Cameron’s government is doing the same.

Here’s my take on it: “Zero hours contracts favour the employer over the employee, places business ahead of people, removes responsibility from business owners, fuels greed and manipulates employment statistics.”

This may sound pretty weird coming from a business consultant, but as my past experience shows, it’s not hard to be successful in business, but to be successful AND happy is another matter entirely.

Which would you rather be (psychopaths please ignore this question)?

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Quentin Pain

Quentin Pain started his first business, a courier company aged 23. He sold it 4 years later and used the profits to start a recording studio. A couple of albums later, he started two software companies, the last one being Accountz, which he grew from zero to 36,000 customers and which is still going strong today. His current company is ProofMEDIA, a specialist digital consulting business focusing on online growth. He's also a published author (including a Dummies title), and has won many awards including the IAB Small Business Mentor of the Year in 2013. Quentin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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