The last few weeks have witnessed increasing discontent over the use of zero hours contracts.
The Guardian reported that:
More than 1 million British workers could be employed on zero-hours contracts, suggesting that British business is deploying the controversial employment terms far more widely than previously thought.
Whilst the Third Sector magazine underlined that :
Voluntary sector organisations are twice as likely to employ people on so-called zero-hours contracts than the private sector, research suggests.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) surveyed 1,000 employers for its 2013 Labour Market Outlook.
The institute found that 34 per cent of voluntary sector employers used zero-hours contracts, compared with 24 per cent in the public sector and 17 per cent in the private sector.
A World to Win blog noted that:
Buckingham Palace and the National Trust use zero hours, whilst in the NHS radiologists, psychiatrists and heart specialists have found themselves on zero hour contracts to be called upon as demand peaks.
This situation has provoked an interesting exchange on the NATCAN site here, in which Andy Benson argues, “this issue is totally relevant to us in the fight against the creeping (one might actually say sprinting) managerialism of the voluntary services industry. We (NCIA) are looking for testimonies from people affected by this and other ways in which the commisioning environment is driving down terms and conditions as part of our Inquiry into the Future of Voluntary Services – see http://www.independentaction.net/category/inquiry-voluntary-service…. Complete anonymity is guaranteed if needed – get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Whilst Steve Radford, a union Branch Secretary representing workers in Voluntary organisations and Social & Community Care agencies reveals, “I am seeing this pernicious practice creeping in to voluntary organisations groups who are still trading on their reputation as socially responsible and non-exploitative employers who genuinely care about their staff. As the World to Win article points out it is not just the unskilled and traditionally exploited types of work which are being targeted, but higher skilled and previously higher paid jobs are going down this route……In the Voluntary and Community Sector the abysmally low level of unionisation goes hand-in-hand with the transformation of many voluntary agencies into nothing more than sub-contractors to the state to create a situation where they simply compete with each other and the worst private sector employers, paying the lowest wages, in order to try and stay in business and maintain their turnover.
Echoing Andy he urges people to come forward about what is happening and to revive the need to unionise and act in collective solidarity.
WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE INCREASINGLY OUTSOURCED AND COMMISSIONED VOLUNTARY YOUTH SECTOR?