Tories create sweatshop Britain with zero-hours increase and immigration cut

Sports Direct was roundly criticised for its use of zero-hours contracts. Employers often plead poverty but aren’t these chains big enough to provide proper jobs?

It seems the Tories have succeeded in their long-term plan to ensure that working people are forever living in fear, by making their employment so insecure, and the benefit system so draconian, that they must take any work they are offered, no matter how low-paid.

This seems to be the fact at the heart of this week’s revelations that, although employment figures remain high, the number of people on zero-hours contracts – and therefore unsure that they will be needed for work, let alone paid, is at an all-time high.

It seems 970,000 people are now on zero-hour contracts – that’s an increase of 74,000 in just three months.

They don’t get sick pay or holiday pay.

They can never be sure they will be able to feed their children or pay the bills.

And they can’t just sign onto benefits in between bouts of work because there’s a five-week wait for Universal Credit and any work done may disqualify them.

Peter Stefanovic lays it all out here:

And now we learn that “low-skilled” (by which I think she means “low-paid”) immigrants will be banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

This means working people already resident in the UK will be expected to take up the slack, taking part in seasonal work like picking fruit and vegetables and being cast aside after that work is done.

Ms Patel reckons the UK’s eigh million “economically inactive” people can be pressganged into doing this work.

Both statistics quoted by Donwyn here are more or less correct.

But “economically inactive” doesn’t mean “unemployed and seeking work“, and that’s an important difference.

These are people who don’t need to work – so why should they lift a finger to fill gaps in the employment market now?

Of course, employers may find that there simply aren’t enough “low-skilled” workers to go around, on the low pay that they offer.

The excuse for low pay has always been that it was all the employers could afford.

If they start going out of business, I suppose we’ll know the truth of it.

Personally, I think working people will be expected to take on two or three jobs at a time in order to make ends meet.

It’s the ‘sweatshop Britain’ that Margaret Thatcher always wanted.

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11 thoughts on “Tories create sweatshop Britain with zero-hours increase and immigration cut

  1. Simon Cohen

    Clearly, the employers can afford more. The city of Seattle raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour and there was a hue and cry about how it would destroy business etc. It hasn’t and has been a success largely and creates a virtuous circle as aggregate demand increases because spending =income.

    The employers are greedy, lying bar stewards.

  2. hyriamelite

    ‘Priti Patel said today on the BBC there are 8 million ‘economically inactive’ people in the UK.’

    Male economics have always claimed that women who are caring for their children/providing care to elderly relatives and/or their male partner are ‘economically inactive’ because this work is supposedly not of any economic value. This is how Priti Patel can make the false claim of 8 million available workers!

    Women who aren’t working out of the home are supposedly ‘economically inactive!’

    Add on the many disabled women and men who aren’t able to work through no fault of their own – oops I mean all women and men can work until they die claim fascist tories and we have the magic figure of 8 million available female and male serfs!!

  3. Barry

    Strange it was the tories who ended zero hours contracts and the eu restored them isn’t it, strange how we got 15 minutes paid break in every four hours worked now you can go 6 hours thanks eu work time directive.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      That is not true. The Conservatives have never lifted a finger to end zero-hours contracts.

      Please do not try to spread lies on This Site.

      Out of interest, where did you first see this lie?

  4. Stu

    A interesting observation is that Yodel who employ predominantly Easter Europeans on zero hour contracts is now up for sale by the Barclay Brothers (Torygraph) as they have obviously now outlived their use.

  5. Jeffrey Davies

    Didn’t they sack the disabled ready for remploy to b taking over by maximus who then takes unemployed people’s to do the work instead of the disabled so no wages paid out only government monies for the unemployed they get plus’s the monies for the furniture they made how quaint is that ready made slaves ontap

  6. trev

    Yep, that’s what it’s really all about, a re-imagining of Victorian conditions for the modern age. Labour should never have supported the Welfare reforms.

  7. kateuk

    Are they going to force pensioners to pick fruit and veg to “earn” the pensions that we have already paid for all our working lives? “Economically inactive” includes students (who mostly have to work part time jobs to support themselves), pensioners, unpaid carers, people who are sick/too disabled to work and people who choose not to work for whatever reason (ie they can afford not to)

  8. Random Bloke

    Economically inactive is their blanket word for any person of working age not in employment or not seeking it.

    So the disabled, unpaid carers, students (higher ed), single parents or families where only one parent is in work, etc

    Gives you an insight into where there line of thinking is going forward.

  9. Jules

    Some of the economically inactive don’t need to work (e.g. taken early retirement), but most *cannot* work. Students in full-time education make up a big percentage. Some will, of course, be working at the same time, but most won’t be holding down a part-time or full-time job. Most of the remaining economically inactive people are single parents with young kids, carers (usually for family), or are too sick or disabled to be able to work. Many of them would love to be able to work, even if only a few hours a week, but jobs that are flexible enough to deal with serious illnesses, school hours, etc. are very uncommon.

    There are some people who looked for jobs for ages and eventually got so discouraged that they gave up. There aren’t huge numbers of them, though.

    So who does PP think she’s going to “incentivise” into work? I think we already know.

  10. Sandra

    I think I can explain Barry’s assertion above that the Tories ended zero hour contracts. They didn’t, but here’s why Barry might have thought they did.

    Some zero hours contracts have an exclusivity clause attached; that is you can only work for that company, at the hours they see fit to give you, and you can work for no other company.
    Lord Freud (remember him?) approx 5 years ago decided to change the rules for Universal Credit claimants regarding these ‘exclusive’ zero hours contracts. Under UC rules, claimants can be forced to take on a zero hours contract or risk being sanctioned if they refuse. However, if a claimant accepted an ‘exclusive’ zero hours contract, then they couldn’t be sanctioned if they refused to accept a 2nd job elsewhere (to increase hours of work say) as they’d be breaking a legal contract with their current contractor.
    All Lord Fraud did was to change the UC rules so that claimants are now allowed to refuse taking on an ‘exclusive’ zero hours contract without risking being sanctioned, but claimants are not allowed to refuse a standard zero hours contract. He most certainly did NOT ban them.
    Nor did Lord Fraud change the rules in order to help workers in general, or claimants in particular. He did so to prevent UC claimant’s from using an ‘exclusivity clause’ as a get out for being forced to take a 2nd job if on part/time or unreliable hours.

    Plus if the Tories did ban zero hours contracts then that rather beggars the question of why they still exist today? In fact, they’re increasing!

    Whichever way you cut this cookie, Barry has got the wrong end of the stick (to mix my metaphors.)

    Also, I’m 80% certain various European countries have already banned zero hours contracts, or severely restricted their use. I’ll see if I can hunt out my link about Europe and zero hours contracts and post it up later.

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