Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Agree with Red Ed



I never thought I would never agree with anything in Mr Miliband's economic policy. If you are wondering who Mr Miliband (or Red Ed as he is sometimes called) is, he is the head of the Labour Party in the UK. In case you haven't been looking, there is a general election about to happen in the UK, which nobody in the world other than the most dedicated Anglophile (this blogger is one) has even noticed. Such is the UK's relevance in the world today - how far has the Empire fallen.

Red Ed, is called so, because he is just one step short of being a Commie in economic policy. So how is it that I can agree anything at all with him ?

Well, he has just announced that he will control the infamous zero hour contracts that seems to be so popular with big employers in the UK.  I have blogged on this before and I find this practice an abomination.

Zero hour contracts are where you enter into a contract with a company which is as one sided as a contract can ever be. You are bound to the company - you have to come to work as soon as the company calls you. The company is bound to nothing - they don't have to call you even once. You sit every morning by the telephone, not knowing if you have work that day or not. If you are called, you have rush to work. They may call you to work for 1 hour, 3 or 5 or 8 - that is their choice. You have to take it and are paid by the hour. You can't work anywhere else because if you are called and you don't turn up instantly, you are fired. Obviously there are no benefits - no leave, no retirement benefits, no medical benefits, no nothing.

Predictably, Britain's companies are shouting down Red Ed.  They must be ashamed of their two facedness. Why don't the bosses be on zero hour contracts. On the days, when they are goofing around doing nothing, they shouldn't get paid. Not one senior manager in the UK is on zero hours contract. Frankly, they should all be - if they turn up for work only every alternate day, the company would actually do better. In the television interviews that are part of the election campaign, David Cameron, UK's Prime Minister and the leader of the Conservative Party had to admit that he himself could not live on a zero hours contracts. Red Ed has gleefully said that if something is not good enough for UK's Prime Minister, its not good enough for the people !

Both ends of the spectrum relating to employment are wrong. In the Red corner is France - with guaranteed life time employment, a million benefits and no obligation to work (in the public sector, at least). In the Blue corner is the UK where an employee is treated as a piece of shit and not a human being.  Both these systems deserve to be thrown into the dustbin.

25 comments:

  1. Oh my!
    Has hell frozen over?
    Were pigs flying?
    Who are you and what have you done to Ramesh?
    you are so much in agreement with the commie ? good for you ;) ;)

    That's all ... because I have no clue about this zero-hour contract stuff ...

    I will go off on a tangent ... about the elections there. Yes, the Empire has taken quite a fall (can you see me all smiles as I typed that?) ... but, the reason the elections are so quiet there has less to do with its importance in the world and more about how elections and campaigning are done. The biggest difference between here (the US) and there is that here money is free speech. Thus, elections are gazillion-dollar advertising events practically non-stop anymore. Thankfully, the UK is smarter on this issue, with some really, really strict rules re. elections.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its me Its me Its me. I have been ranting against the zero hour contracts for some time. For the same post I have been called a Commie by one reader and a capitalist pig by another,. Obviously I must be saying something right :)

      On the elections, you are right that the UK has managed money power better than you - actually you did it well too until Citizens United. But what amazes me is the utter disinterest elsewhere in the world. What happens in the UK will have global implications - For example n exit from the EU (if the UKIP wins enough seats) and a Scotland break (if the SNP wins enough seats), will all have repercussions on the rest of the world. After US, China, Russia and Germany, what the UK does matters the most for everybody. And yet nobody cares ??

      Here they all care only about tweeting or Whatsapping jokes on Anushka Sharma !!

      Delete
    2. To which I ask, "who is Anushka Sharma?" ;)

      Delete
    3. Good question :)

      Delete
  2. Red Ed is right on Zero Hour contracts and wrong on everything else. It is quite likely that he will swallow his pride and become the next PM with support from Red Salmond - another iconoclast - who together will do their best to wreck the United Kingdom. We Brits will finally pay the price for having unwritten constitutional arrangements. I will be going to England on May 7 to vote. God Save The Queen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I agree. That's why I was so dumbstruck about agreeing anything economic with the Labour Party of today.

      Go vote, young man. God Save the Queen.

      Delete
  3. !!! dread the impact it would've on a country like India!!! wonder how they even passed this as a contract when its so dreadfully one sided!!?? And as for why SM's are excluded from this..some idiot has to decide whom to pick or drop right. One way I guess this could benefit India. If kambenis don't have people responding to their drop dead calls, they can claim lack of skilled labourers in UK and can outsource it to us.. romba kodurama yosikareno? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As Ravi says, in the organised sector we don't have anything like this, but in the unorganised sector, sometimes there can be mayhem. Most of what can be outsourced has already been done Gilsu. Now most of the jobs in question are those that have to physically be done in country.

      Delete
  4. India already has zero hour contracts - the working hours, job security and lack of benefits for domestic workers, labourers in the unorganised sector, etc are appalling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes and no. Huge strides have been made in different industries. For eg, Security, Casual workers, construction industry, cleaning industry, etc have been much transformed. Exploitation of labour has come down. Its the domestic worker segment where exploitation is at its maximum and that's because Rajalakshmi is in control !!

      Delete
  5. Super point..never came to my mind that there is an unorganized sector which has always ratified this contract

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sandhya Sriram1/4/15

    first of all, i am super impressed that Ramesh is following Anushka Sharma, 2nd, Gils is back on Ramesh's blog, hope we see more of him
    and third, about UK, well Ramesh -as you said ,who cares ;)

    having said that, i think, this zero hour kind of thing exists every where. it has a name in the UK, in many parts of the world, it doesnt, it just exists. It is a manifestation of the lopsided demand supply equation. the correction need to happen there. Like the challenge for every economy, UK has the same challenge of creating enough jobs for all its people and it is too busy ranting about a lot of things but doing nothing about many of them. that i think is the problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trouble in the UK is that it is all very legal. In places like India, it may be widespread, but it is illegal. The way it seems to have been accepted as perfectly OK in the UK completely gets me boiling.

      Well, I do know a bit about cricket ; else I wouldn't know who is the lady in question :)

      Delete
  7. Niraj Dhupia1/4/15

    I agree with your views on appalling zero hour contracts and as a result have to agree with EM on this one, though he still won’t get my vote on May 7th 
    The elections this time are no doubt very important for a number of reasons you outlined and one of the closest contests being fought on the lines of austerity measures, GDP deficit that still needs to be brought down heavily, breakout from the EU, Scottish Independence, Immigration matters, seemingly deflation, sky rocketing property prices, falling NHS standards and other matters as usual. Sadly it has not managed to attract interest from people who are not residents, but good to know that you are keenly following it. But then this is hardly a surprise as there won’t be many things you wouldn’t know under the sun  You even know Anushka Sharma and the jokes ;)
    Coming back to Zero hour contracts, obviously employers have got it wrong but as with anything else, this is driven by demand and supply mechanism. Employers are in a position to exploit because there are people who are willing to do this. We all know that this is not a free will but a forced choice, but I will leave that discussion. In order to completely avoid it, I think workers need to do something about it as well in the form of honing their skills, ramping up expertise, gaining new experience, etc. and then only they would be able to command better negotiation power in their dealings with the employers.
    For employers’ behaviour, you sum it up brilliantly by saying that a balance needs to be achieved between both ends of the spectrum or should I say between practices in countries on either side of the English channel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Niraj - wonderful to see you in the comments column. You've summed up the election beautifully. Absolutely yes - there is not much to like about the Labour Party currently.

      And you are absolutely right on zero hour contracts. Its a demand and supply thing, but the whole thing about public policy has to be that some things are not acceptable just because it can be done. What I find difficult to fathom is how many people in the UK justify what to an outsider seems like an appalling labour practice.

      Delete
  8. Vincy Joseph2/4/15

    Ramesh for once I know the stuff you are talking about. My breakfast time TV viewing in UK has helped. Miliband, the elections there et all.. and I know Zero hour too, from your earlier post. :-) :-)

    Foget about the outside world, even the average Brit is not bothered about the elections there.

    The point that Ravi brought out opens our eyes to the sam stuff happening in India. I have seen construction workers gathering up on a main road in Anna Nagar, Chennai and the managers coming and choosing the people they want for an assignment. some chosen some left behind, I guess there is not even a contract in place there. Trully appalling for us.

    On a side note, when people like us ( me and gils ) have not given it a thought, until someone points out the atrocities of unorganised sector, though it has been happening all through, I do not blame the people in UK for justifying this. One is so used to certain atrocities, that they become immune or end up supporting that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh , we should turn to you for the expert opinion. I am amazed you find that even the average Brit is not bothered. Many big and long term issues hinge on this election. And the guy on the street is not bothered ??? Sad comment on democracy.

      Its actually the Trade Unions who should be ashamed of the treatment of the unorganised sector. They are so busy protecting their members that they are shafting the people who actually need protection.

      Delete
  9. en comment kaaka ussh aaidthu :((

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go catch the kaka and bring it back Gilsu :)

      Delete
  10. If you want I can send jokes other than Anushka Sharma on Whatsapp ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Zen of Zeno is baaaaaaaaaaaaccccccckkkkkkkk . Hooray !

      PLEASE NO. I am cursing the day I installed WhatsApp even now :)

      Delete
  11. Turns out that this has been happening in the US, too ... and the attorney general for New York is investigating it ...
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/04/13/keeping_employees_on_call_the_new_york_attorney_general_wants_to_know_more.html
    Did I understand this correctly--that the UK thing you are referring to is no different from the US practice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, some shades of this has been happening in the US too. But not as bad and as widespread as it has been in the UK.

      Delete
  12. I sometimes wonder why labour has never been allowed to organise the same way capital has been allowed to. if v say yes do it but with a group of such people.
    all these will get settled if unemployment abates
    kumar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Kumar - great to see you here. Oh labour has organised itself all right in the past; its just that its powers have waned now. But the trouble with organised labour is that it only organises those who are already "in". The vast majority that is "out" is the one that suffers the most.

      Delete

Follow by Email

Blog Archive

Featured from the archives