Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/938/24809
From The Socialist newspaper, 1 March 2017
"I worked from 9am to 11.30pm with only one break"
photo Quinn Dombrowski/Creative Commons (Click to enlarge)
A zero-hour contract worker speaks to the Socialist
The number of workers employed on zero-hour contracts is set to rise to over 1 million for the first time. The Socialist spoke to Hannah, who is 'employed' on one.
The Socialist: Where did you work?
Hannah: I worked for a bar and restaurant over Christmas.
How many people were employed there?
There were 20-30 of us although I could never be completely sure - I often didn't see some of the other employees as we worked very different shifts.
When did you start work?
I started working in November 2016 and was there for about a month and a half. There was no mention of work stopping, I just had my last shift on New Year's Eve and then nothing. I know at least one other employee has had no shifts since then.
Have you contacted the employer about getting more shifts?
I called a week after New Year's Eve and they said they would contact me if any more work became available. I then called them two weeks later when I hadn't heard anything and they said they would probably not need me until Mother's Day!
Had anyone considered joining a union?
No, I just wanted to walk into an easy job and not have to worry as I have my studies to think about. I just didn't see the point of joining a union as they [the employers] would just see you as a pain rather than a positive to the company.
What were the conditions like at work?
At times it could be pretty draining. For me, the worst day was when we had a wedding reception booked in. We had to work from 9am to 11.30pm and I was only allowed one cigarette break throughout that entire time. Near the end of the shift one of the chefs offered to make us sandwiches because he could see how drained we were.
Are you still considered to be an employee even though you're getting no hours?
I am, although I've just got a new job because it's clear I wasn't getting any hours. I've been very up front with my new employer and told them not to screw me around on hours but it's another zero-hour contract because that's all I could get.
Absolutely. They are just a way to give the workers no rights
Would you join a trade union if your union helped you and your colleagues to organise effectively against zero-hours contracts?
Yes, it's something I'm actually thinking about now as I'm about to start a new zero-hour job.
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In The Socialist 1 March 2017:
Build a movement to save our NHS
Reinstate the bursaries for student nurses now!
Grantham: 1,000 march for reopening of A&E
NHS England missing paperwork scandal
Heart centre closure consultation 'farce'
NHS v RBS
Socialist Party women
International Women's Day
Women's protests and walkouts around the world
Lessons of Russia 1917 for women's struggle today
Why I joined the Socialist Party
How black women fought racism and sexism at Nasa
Fight like Poplar's women councillors to change the lives of family carers
What we think
Byelections: Break with Labour Blairism wasn't on offer
Socialist Party feature
Debates on building the anti-Trump movement
Workplace news and analysis
"I worked from 9am to 11.30pm with only one break"
Warehouse workers walk out over pay and pensions
Derby teaching assistants continue fight against £6,000 a year pay cut
Picturehouse strikers blockade Leicester Square
Ford workers demand answers to Bridgend plant sourcing questions
Hearing into alleged rule-breaking by Unison ends
Leeds: Protest against tip stealing
Mixed Fleet cabin crew announce more strike days
RMT plans protest against 'driver only' Merseyrail trains
Southern Rail strike continues
May Day greetings in the Socialist
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Unions demand that Corbyn-supporting mayor protects services
Bristol cuts: the fight goes on
Tower Hamlets: There is an alternative, Mr Biggs
Spelthorne: we need socialist councillors
York University: socialists prevent far-right hate speech
Socialist Party Wales conference report
Northern region Socialist Party conference
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
The Socialist Inbox
What we saw
The Socialist 1 March 2017 |
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