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Zero tolerance

Great is the rejoicing among most of the Guardian commentariat at the news that the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, has said that if it wins the election the Labour party will outlaw all zero-hours contracts.

However there is a steady stream of comments from those not thrilled by their coming liberation from the capitalist exploiter, such as this comment by “fivemack”:

Employing people is not compulsory; if it had to employ people for 40 hours a week at £10 an hour regardless of demand, Deliveroo wouldn’t keep on the same number of employees as it has now, it simply wouldn’t exist. If the Guardian had to publish articles only by people who are full-time Guardian employees, it would miss out on an awful lot of interesting content.

The Guardian‘s own business section ran a story that said in large type that “McDonald’s offers fixed contracts to 115,000 UK zero-hours workers” and in small type that

McDonald’s has been trialling the shift to fixed-hours contracts in 23 sites across the country. The company said that about 80% of workers in the trial chose to remain on flexible contracts

13 comments to Zero tolerance

  • Fraser Orr

    Those poor deluded fools wanting to stay on zero hour contracts. Obviously they don’t know what is good for them, so someone has to take away their choices so that they don’t make the wrong choice.

    Brought to you by your benevolent overlords.

  • Lee Moore

    Employing people is not compulsory

    1. Not yet anyway, but just wait
    2. Even now, failing to hire someone of a particular category could cost you a lot of money

    So we’re getting there.

    The real crime is not how you run your business, but having a business to run.

  • Julie near Chicago

    If the Guardian hires writers as inept as the person quoted, how can you possibly expect so-called “common sense,” let alone an actual grasp of facts, to matter to it at all?

    “Trialling” ???? !!!! No wonder they printed it in small type!

    There is a word that’s really good, really short, and really well-known for yea these many centuries (or so I believe), for what I fear the putter-of-fingers-to-keyboard (it is an insult to writers to count him or her as one such) was trying to say:

    “MacDonald’s has been trying the shift ….”

    Even “conducting a trial of …” or “running a trial of …” would be a ginormous improvement.


    Speaking of crimes of abuse in English: The WP spell-checker doesn’t understand “trialling” (it’s on the Right Side for a change! Hooray!), but it’s perfectly happy with “ginormous.”

  • Julie near Chicago

    I see that Ms. Sarandon was there to back up Mr. Shaw … I’m planning on not-voting for either of them.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I wonder if Mr McDonnell would consider shutting down the government backed NHS Professionals, who employ about 40,000 “flexible” (a.k.a. zero-hours contract) health workers for the NHS?

  • The Jannie

    “The company said that about 80% of workers in the trial chose to remain on flexible contracts”

    The poor benighted fools; do they realise what they’re doing? They’re victims, victims I tell you!

    Yes, I know, Fraser Orr beat me to the spirit of it . . . . .

  • Pat

    But wouldn’t it be wonderful if The Guardian only published material from full time employees? And indeed hired no part time staff at all.
    Hell even better it could stop availing itself of legal tax avoidance?

  • The poor benighted fools; do they realise what they’re doing? They’re victims, victims I tell you!

    False consciousness! All we need do is convince them of their exploitation and we’ll have the revolution at last! And if we have to send a few million to the camps to do it then the ends justify the means!

    In all seriousness… We have agency workers at my employer who were offered full time contracts and turned them down… And anyone who has done agency work knows what a rare thing that is. Some people just LIKE to be flexible, or LIKE variety or whatever other reason and it’s not for dullards at the Graun to tell them different.

  • Paul Marks

    Good post Natalie.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    First, the Guardian needs to find a way to guarantee a Labour victory- then they can cheer! The polls keep showing Corbyn as some Tory Manchurian candidate!
    Wouldn’t that be the Godmother of all conspiracy theories!? Maybe the conservatives put Corbyn into the position of Labour Leader? That would be a conspiracy to support!

  • Lee Moore

    Maybe the conservatives put Corbyn into the position of Labour Leader? That would be a conspiracy to support!

    Not that far fetched. Picking the enemy leader is a good tactic.

    Cameron only got in as Tory leader because the Tory big wigs thought he was the only possibility who would be marginally acceptable to the BBC, and so wouldn’t be gored and raked quite as obsessively as the BBC had done to Hague, IDS and Howard. And the BBC weren’t nearly as nasty to him as they had been to his predecessors. It’s almost as if the Tory big wigs had asked the BBC for permission on who they might be allowed to elect as leader.

    How the BBC must be wailing and gnashing its teeth at Cameron’s treachery ! They must have thought Cameron was a Liberal Democrat Europhile, pretending to be a one nation Tory. But he turned out to be a mainstream Tory politician – someone willing to promise absolutely anything to get into and stay in No.10. Even a referendum on EU membership !

    God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Natalie, I agree.

  • An additional advantage to being a contractor (zero-hours or otherwise) is it that if the firm has mandatory PC re-education seminars for full-time employees, these are often not mandatory (either formally not mandatory or technically so but in fact much easier/safer to dodge) if you are a contractor. In at least one contract I did in the last decade or so, I was able to get the PC-speak lecture second-hand, from the detailed summary of my full-time colleagues, without having to attend in person.