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Andy Burnham Calls For Ban On Zero Hours Contracts

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22328897

Labour should pledge to ban "zero hours contracts" at the next election, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has said.

Mr Burnham praised his party leader Ed Miliband's proposal to reward firms for paying low paid workers more than the minimum wage.

But he said the Labour leader should "go further" and vow to ban so-called zero hours contracts as well.

Workers on such contracts are on call to work but can be given no hours and, as a result, no pay.

Are low paid workers being paid more than the minimum wage really low paid workers?

So should zero hour contracts be banned?

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1) There should be less legislation and complexity, not more.

2) We don't have low wages; we have a sky-high cost of living (especially housing).

Burnham's proposals do nothing to address these two most important points. In fact they seem to be exacerbating both problems rather than fixing them. On the specific point of Zero Hours Contracts then, yes, these should be banned because they are clearly not in the spirit of the law.

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heres an interesting debating point: which European countries are doing the best in Europe?

which countries in Europe do not have a minimum wage?

Answer:

Germany

Denmark

Sweden

Finland

Norway

Austria

Switzerland

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1) There should be less legislation and complexity, not more.

2) We don't have low wages; we have a sky-high cost of living (especially housing).

Burnham's proposals do nothing to address these two most important points. In fact they seem to be exacerbating both problems rather than fixing them. On the specific point of Zero Hours Contracts then, yes, these should be banned because they are clearly not in the spirit of the law.

Agreed. Zero hour contracts mean that whilst workers' hourly wages meet the basic minimum their income and work hours can be horrendous; both called in at and sent home as and whne heir employer sees fit. Burnham's right on this one.

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heres an interesting debating point: which European countries are doing the best in Europe?

which countries in Europe do not have a minimum wage?

Answer:

Germany

Denmark

Sweden

Finland

Norway

Austria

Switzerland

The socialist ones?

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heres an interesting debating point: which European countries are doing the best in Europe?

which countries in Europe do not have a minimum wage?

Answer:

Germany

Denmark

Sweden

Finland

Norway

Austria

Switzerland

Most (all?) of these countries have strong collective bargaining which establishes minimum wages sector by sector. They're not libertarian utopias where employers are free to offer any wage they feel like.

Some explanations here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_wages_by_country

Edited by Dorkins

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The socialist ones?

The ones with unions.

Chris Dillow on why conservatives should encourage private sector unions:

I say this because of a fact pointed out by Philippe Aghion and colleagues - that there is a strong negative correlation across countries between union membership and minimum wage laws. Countries with strong unions, such as the Nordic nations, tend to have no minimum wage laws whilst countries with lower union membership, such as Greece or France, have stronger minimum wage legislation.

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2012/09/conservatives-support-unions.html

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Most (all?) of these countries have strong collective bargaining which establishes minimum wages sector by sector. They're not libertarian utopias where employers are free to offer any wage they feel like.

Some explanations here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_wages_by_country

sure but it also suggests there is a better way of doing things maybe than just state defined minimum wages.

collective bargaining suggests there is a market at play.

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heres an interesting debating point: which European countries are doing the best in Europe?

which countries in Europe do not have a minimum wage?

Answer:

Germany - Wrong, it has a minimum wage

Denmark - Wrong, it has a minimum wage

Sweden - Wrong, it has a minimum wage

Finland - Wrong, it has a minimum wage

Norway - Wrong, it has a minimum wage

Austria - Wrong, it has a minimum wage

Switzerland - Wrong, it has a minimum wage

Every single one of them has a minimum wage of some type. Either directly set by government or by government promoted sector-based worker bargaining councils. That's what germany uses for example.

So the answer is all of them

Edited by alexw

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sure but it also suggests there is a better way of doing things maybe than just state defined minimum wages.

collective bargaining suggests there is a market at play.

The outcome of these collective bargaining arrangements is enforceable by law. The outcome is not that different, it's just that the process behind it is more consensual. This probably reflects the less antagonistic relations between labour and capital in these countries compared to the UK.

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Every single one of them has a minimum wage of some type. Either directly set by government or by government promoted sector-based worker bargaining councils. That's what germany uses for example.

So the answer is all of them

"Poison for our job market". This is how Hans Heinrich Driftmann, President of the DIHK, the federation of German CCIs, categorically describes the introduction of a minimum wage in Germany. His formula sums up the position of German businesses, at a time when the federal Republic is one of the rare European countries, along with Switzerland, Finland and Denmark, to have no minimum wage.

This is how a hairdresser may earn 3.05 euros per hour in the country's east, compared with 5.11 euros in the country's west; how a plumber in Saxony can be paid 4.06 euros per hour, in other words two euros less than a counterpart in Bavaria; how a florist paid 7.73 euros in the west may only be paid 4.30 euros per hour in the east. Meanwhile, those in the hotel-catering industry only earn 6.90 euros in the east, but 9.32 euros in the west. Only ten branches of activity have minimum wages to date, ranging from 6.50 euros (security guards) to 12.81 euros (mines).

this is why germany is so reluctant to print money with the euro and cause inflation. inflation in germany is the biggest fear for their economy. there is almost a tacit agreement of low wage but also low inflation , resulting in full employment for the country.

also wage structures are agreed sector by sector and area by area which makes more sense because a minimum wage in london probably shouldnt really be the same as someone working in the north.

its a more flexible system.

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We had a thread about "zero hour contracts" just recently.

I recollect we established the phrase means different things to different people. The version most people (including me) would want to outlaw is the one where you're required to be on standby to be called up whenever the employer wants you, but not paid for those hours on standby.

Amongst HPCers who are or have been on zero-hour contracts, no examples of that were found. Not surprising really, not least because it would already not be legal. But that doesn't stop the socialists putting it up as a strawman to ban.

The place where such a stupid situation does exist[1] is on the dole. Thou shalt not do voluntary/charity work, because you're making yourself unavailable(!) for employment. When I was last 'between jobs', they even stopped my claim when I traveled to a jobs fair[2] for a weekend.

[1] Unless IDS has reformed it since my last encounter with that particular service.

[2] OK, it had a techie conference attached.

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"Poison for our job market". This is how Hans Heinrich Driftmann, President of the DIHK, the federation of German CCIs, categorically describes the introduction of a minimum wage in Germany. His formula sums up the position of German businesses, at a time when the federal Republic is one of the rare European countries, along with Switzerland, Finland and Denmark, to have no minimum wage.

This is how a hairdresser may earn 3.05 euros per hour in the country's east, compared with 5.11 euros in the country's west; how a plumber in Saxony can be paid 4.06 euros per hour, in other words two euros less than a counterpart in Bavaria; how a florist paid 7.73 euros in the west may only be paid 4.30 euros per hour in the east. Meanwhile, those in the hotel-catering industry only earn 6.90 euros in the east, but 9.32 euros in the west. Only ten branches of activity have minimum wages to date, ranging from 6.50 euros (security guards) to 12.81 euros (mines).

this is why germany is so reluctant to print money with the euro and cause inflation. inflation in germany is the biggest fear for their economy. there is almost a tacit agreement of low wage but also low inflation , resulting in full employment for the country.

also wage structures are agreed sector by sector and area by area which makes more sense because a minimum wage in london probably shouldnt really be the same as someone working in the north.

its a more flexible system.

I agree their system is more flexible. But the option of having such a system went out the window when our trade union system was destroyed.

Your a bit deluded in your thinking on their low wage - low inflation system though.

What they have done is exported that inflation into other nations, via the euro system. It's true that has enabled near full employment at the cost of wages that have been static for 30 years.

However that euro system is going to implode and when it does the fallout for germany will be catastrophic. The value of the new DM will rise 30-50%. That will kill their exports. It also means those goods will be unable to find a home internally, and be replaced by cheaper imports to their now much more expensive cost base. The adjustment will be brutal and catastrophic pushing them into a full on economic depression.

Every time merchantalist pegs have ended, which for germany the euro is, it is catastrophic to the merchantalist nation involved. I don't expect any difference here.

Edited by alexw

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We had a thread about "zero hour contracts" just recently.

I recollect we established the phrase means different things to different people. The version most people (including me) would want to outlaw is the one where you're required to be on standby to be called up whenever the employer wants you, but not paid for those hours on standby.

Amongst HPCers who are or have been on zero-hour contracts, no examples of that were found. Not surprising really, not least because it would already not be legal. But that doesn't stop the socialists putting it up as a strawman to ban.

The place where such a stupid situation does exist[1] is on the dole. Thou shalt not do voluntary/charity work, because you're making yourself unavailable(!) for employment. When I was last 'between jobs', they even stopped my claim when I traveled to a jobs fair[2] for a weekend.

[1] Unless IDS has reformed it since my last encounter with that particular service.

[2] OK, it had a techie conference attached.

Exactly how many HPC'ers do you think are in the demographic groups likely to experience this type of zero hour contract?

And your wrong in that no examples were found -

"Yes, the expectation that you will not turn work down as you can be easily replaced was something I experienced. I had a contract for a few token hours per week and was contractually obliged to be available to be called in to work on any day of the week without prior notice (no pay for the inconvenience). I also had to ask the employer's permission if I wanted to take employment elsewhere, which if it interfered with their ability to call on me at any time they pleased they would not permit. "

"I think the issue is with jobs which should normaly be regarded as full time or part time with defined hours. eg nephew got job at a famous take-away junk food joint. Was told he had zero contract hours but must be on tap for when they want him. First week he got 30 or so hours broken up over seven days, the next week he got about 10. He has been sent home several times after ariving at work and finding that the boss was calling 3 people in (when he percieved the place was getting busy) but then deciding he only really needed 1 or 2 extra workers. "

http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=189283&st=60

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Zero hours contracts combined with inflexible debt repayment schedules is the economic version of multiple personality disorder- one half of the system seems utterly out of touch with the realities of the other.

Will that corporation who made a zero hours contract with you as an employee accept that lack of consistent income as a legitimate reason to modify the other contract they made with you as a customer- the one that demands a fixed sum to be paid to them on a monthly basis?

No.

So there's no need to tell them to go f*ck themselves- they already have. :lol:

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Good point. Let's pass a law that everyone must earn £100k and have 30 days holiday.

:-) +1

However, it is better to have a citizen income so nobody needs to work to survive, and so the proper non coersive free market wages can be established.

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:-) +1

However, it is better to have a citizen income so nobody needs to work to survive, and so the proper non coersive free market wages can be established.

Someone has to work to give that money any value.

(Unless we are already in some fully automated economy where robots do all the work)

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Someone has to work to give that money any value.

(Unless we are already in some fully automated economy where robots do all the work)

At the bottom end, you already find people working despite seeing marginal rates close to or exceeding 100% (due to benefit withdrawal)

At the top end, people who already have more money than they could possibly spend continue to work. And then complain about being taxed..

Monetary incentives are not the only reason people turn up for work.

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Someone has to work to give that money any value.

(Unless we are already in some fully automated economy where robots do all the work)

For a lot of people there would be more monetray reason to work than under the current system.

With a citizen's wage everybody would be better off working.

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Someone has to work to give that money any value.

(Unless we are already in some fully automated economy where robots do all the work)

Given a £3000 rate per adult (and some what less, say 2/3 for the under 18), that gives an amount of roughly 40m x £3000 + 25m x £2000 = £170bn.

We already can produce more stuffs than we can consume (or get the Chinese to do it in exchange for the papers). Given the small sum of money and removal of the perverse incentive, I am willing to bet that people will work but at rates that they feel is reasonable (and that could be £2/hour for a kid distributing papers etc) as they are always better off working.

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For a lot of people there would be more monetray reason to work than under the current system.

With a citizen's wage everybody would be better off working.

.. and people could actually make a living out of seasonal/irregular/part time work. At the moment the benefits system is completely geared to the model of long-term constant-hours employment.

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  • 239 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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