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Dave Beans

Buck Palace (And Cineworld) Staff On Zero-Hours Contracts

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http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/jul/30/buckingham-palace-zero-hours-contracts

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jul/30/zero-hours-contracts-case-studies

Buckingham Palace, a leading cinema chain and one of Britain's best known art galleries are among a group of high profile employers who sign staff up to so-called "zero-hours" contracts to keep employment costs at a minimum.

Two days after it emerged that retailer Sports Direct employs 20,000 staff on zero-hours terms, the Guardian has established that the royal family's London residence, along with Cineworld and the Tate galleries, hire workers under the controversial employment practice.

The 350 part-time employees deployed as extra staff during Buckingham Palace's summer opening have no guaranteed hours. They work in the shop, greet visitors, and work as monitors in the rooms made open to the public.

All of Cineworld's part-time multiplex staff are on zero-hours contracts, as are all catering staff at the Tate galleries in London, Liverpool and St Ives, Cornwall.

Buckingham Palace opened its doors to the public earlier this week, but all the temporary staff hired to run the State Rooms attraction, which includes a Diamond Jubilee exhibition, are forced to sign contracts which give them no guarantee of any work. However, although the contract leaves staff with no promise of work, they are not allowed to work for any other employee without written permission from the palace.

A copy of a staff contract seen by the Guardian, dated 2009, says: "Your hours of work will be advised by the visitor manager and will be dependent upon the requirements for retail assistants at Buckingham Palace as and when required.

"You are employed to work exclusively for Royal Collection Enterprises Limited [a Palace subsidiary] and if you wish to seek secondary employment you must first obtain the written consent of your Head of Department."

A spokeswoman for the palace said the contracts did not guarantee any amount of work, but said rotas were drawn up a month in advance for staff to plan their hours.

But she declined to characterise them as zero-hours contracts: "All temporary staff employed during the summer opening of Buckingham Palace are issued with fixed-term employment contracts for a three-or four-month period. These are not zero-hours contracts."

The palace argues that because the staff are entitled to certain benefits on days when they are called in, such as a free hot or cold lunch, holiday pay and uniforms, amongst other benefits, they cannot be described as zero-hours.

The Office for National Statistics estimates that 200,000 staff work on zero-hours contracts. But experts now believe the true number is far higher.

Cineworld, the UK's second biggest cinema chain with 80 sites across the country, uses zero-hours contracts exclusively for its entire part-time workforce at its multiplexes. With 4,500 employees working at the cinemas and in head office, it is thought that up to 80% are on zero-hours contracts.

Cineworld declined to comment.

The Tate galleries catering service, which uses work across Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives, has also been found to employ all part time staff on zero-hours contracts. A spokesman confirmed that only zero-hours contracts are used but declined to comment further.

The use of the contracts has exploded across the UK in recent years as employers look to employ workers on the most flexible terms within the boundaries of the law.

However, the contracts leave staff without guaranteed hours, sick pay or holiday pay, and make it difficult to get a tenancy agreement, credit card or loan because proving regular income becomes impossible.

The contracts leave workers vulnerable to sudden reduction in shift patterns and last-minute shift cancellations at the discretion of managers. Dozens of staff on zero-hours contracts have told the Guardian that if they do not make themselves available for work they are unlikely to receive shifts for the rest of the month.

The latest revelations prompted trade unions and politicians to condemn the phenomenon and questionofficial estimates of how many workers have jobs with no guaranteed income.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, called for the contracts to be made illegal due to the damage they cause to families.

He said: "Zero-hours contracts should be outlawed entirely. They wind the clock back to the bad old days of people standing at the factory gates, waiting to be picked for a day's work. Many people on zero-hours contracts are on the lowest wages in our economy, making them the least able to cope with financial shocks like a drastic cut in hours from one week to the next. This has a damaging impact on family life, and on people's spending – bad news for our economy and our society."

Sources suggest that ministers are currently unworried by the revelations and have no plans to introduce a ban.

But Vince Cable, the business secretary, said: "Whilst it's important our workforce remains flexible, it is equally important that it is treated fairly. This is why I have asked my officials to undertake some work over the summer to better understand how this type of contract is working in practice today."

Campaign groups have also flooded Sports Direct with emails demanding they give staff the option of fixed hour contracts after all 20,000 part time staff were revealed to be on zero hour contracts, and protests outside stores are planned for this weekend.

How dare the proles stand up for themselves..Of course MPs aren't interested in changing the status quo...

Edited by Dave Beans

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http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/jul/30/buckingham-palace-zero-hours-contracts

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jul/30/zero-hours-contracts-case-studies

How dare the proles stand up for themselves..Of course MPs aren't interested in changing the status quo...

Role on the emergence of entrepreneurs who issues me an 'ethical' debit card. It will blocks payments ot these shyster corps & their owners / shadow partners

..in my dreams :unsure:

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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Role on the emergence of entrepreneurs who issues me an 'ethical' debit card. It will blocks payments ot these shyster corps & their owners / shadow partners

..in my dreams :unsure:

Trouble is that even in the more "ethical" organisations, that someone, somewhere down the chain, has probably been exploited.

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In my days as a temporary worker 2011 - 2012 there was some trepidation and excitement at the prospect of the new EU directives coming in and give people full-time jobs after they had worked 12 weeks at the same company. We were dismayed when instead the companies started issuing zero hour contracts as substitutes for real jobs under some obscure clause which all the employment lawyers working for the companies jumped on. People take zero hour contracts because of the huge numbers of people chasing the few jobs which has exploded due to the number of people with the same access to the UK jobs market as UK citizens. Quite insidious really.

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I very much doubt if the exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts would withstand a legal challenge. They certainly wouldn't survive one in Brussels.

Yep it's hard to see how any court would support the legality of that clause.

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Could someone clarify the differences between ZH and casual work? Am I right in thinking that with ZH the worker has no right to refuse a call to work without thereby voiding the contract? Does ZH offer any advantage to the worker over casual work?

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But Vince Cable, the business secretary, said: "Whilst it's important our workforce remains flexible, it is equally important that it is treated fairly. This is why I have asked my officials to undertake some work over the summer to better understand how this type of contract is working in practice today."

Presumably he's employing these officials on a zero hours contract.

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Max keiser saying just now

"The theory used by Fed and BoE: the reason they need to keep monitizing debt (QE) is because not enough people want jobs

I think people are crying out for decent jobs, but most of the jobs on offer are just not worth having, especially when most of your income is drained away by rentiers

Edited by aSecureTenant

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How dare the proles stand up for themselves..Of course MPs aren't interested in changing the status quo...

Don't MPs have exactly the opposite sort of contract? They get paid whether they turn up or not, and they can do other jobs with gay abandon,

Peter.

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The easy solution to this (not that it will ever happen) is to require the employer to pay employees while they are on standby. I would set the pay rate at 50% of the normal hourly rate and would be paid for all of the hours the employee can be asked to work.

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Could someone clarify the differences between ZH and casual work? Am I right in thinking that with ZH the worker has no right to refuse a call to work without thereby voiding the contract? Does ZH offer any advantage to the worker over casual work?

I think the technical term that used to be used was slave. You will do whst we want when we want but don;t expect anything for it.

Icing on the cake would be zero hour contracts on back to work schemes - the employer grabs the kickback from the taxpayer regardless of whehter they bother pulling the sap in to do wome work for free at all, less trouble that way,

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The easy solution to this (not that it will ever happen) is to require the employer to pay employees while they are on standby.

Well under existing employment law if a contract of employment exists then both parties enter into a "mutuality of obligation": the employer has an obligation to provide work (or pay even if they cant provide any) and the employee has an obligation to accept the work.

I'm not sure how ZH contracts manage to circumvent this as its a central tenet of the legislation.

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The use of the contracts has exploded across the UK in recent years as employers look to employ workers on the most flexible terms within the boundaries of the law.

However, the contracts leave staff without guaranteed hours, sick pay or holiday pay, and make it difficult to get a tenancy agreement, credit card or loan because proving regular income becomes impossible.

This right here is where the zero hours ship hits the rocks. An economy that runs on credit cannot operate if it does not support credit worthy employees.

If this does start to happen on a large scale it will be funny to watch the ensuing battle between the rent seekers who require debt slaves with reliable incomes and the employers who gain by eliminating those reliable incomes- I wonder which of the two has the political juice to win out? :lol:

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This right here is where the zero hours ship hits the rocks. An economy that runs on credit cannot operate if it does not support credit worthy employees.

If this does start to happen on a large scale it will be funny to watch the ensuing battle between the rent seekers who require debt slaves with reliable incomes and the employers who gain by eliminating those reliable incomes- I wonder which of the two has the political juice to win out? :lol:

do Wonga and other predatory lenders care about credit worthiness?

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Well under existing employment law if a contract of employment exists then both parties enter into a "mutuality of obligation": the employer has an obligation to provide work (or pay even if they cant provide any) and the employee has an obligation to accept the work.

I'm not sure how ZH contracts manage to circumvent this as its a central tenet of the legislation.

Notionally you can take other jobs.

EDIT that may be completely wrong.

Edited by oldsport

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Notionally you can take other jobs.

EDIT that may be completely wrong.

You need permission to take another job usually.

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Well under existing employment law if a contract of employment exists then both parties enter into a "mutuality of obligation": the employer has an obligation to provide work (or pay even if they cant provide any) and the employee has an obligation to accept the work.

I'm not sure how ZH contracts manage to circumvent this as its a central tenet of the legislation.

There is actually a case about this here and on appeal there is no "mutuality of obligation."

http://www.ppma.org....of-employment-/

On appeal, it was submitted that the Employment Judge did not find, and was not entitled to find, that the claimants were employed under a global or umbrella contract. It was argued that such a contract required mutual obligations subsisting over the entire duration of the relevant period. In the light of the "Zero Hours Contract Agreements" it was impossible to make such a finding. In addition, it was argued, there was no mutuality of obligation, there was no obligation to offer work, and if work was offered it was only when the roster was agreed by the employee that there was any obligation to work.

Heaven forbid employee's should have any rights.

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I very much doubt if the exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts would withstand a legal challenge. They certainly wouldn't survive one in Brussels.

Not sure of your point.

Exclusivity would be one of the badges of employment, I guess. But there's no argument about these people being employees, is there? Maybe the argument is that they're effectively self-employed contractors.

edit: waffle extermination

Edited by okaycuckoo

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There is actually a case about this here and on appeal there is no "mutuality of obligation."

http://www.ppma.org....of-employment-/

Heaven forbid employee's should have any rights.

I think that case is saying that just because one side calls it a "zero hours contract" doesn't mean there are no actual mutual obligations.

Doesn't really help with the legal nature of the ZHC - seems obvious that it's a self-employed contractor situation, which is converted to full employee status by an exclusivity clause.

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I think that case is saying that just because one side calls it a "zero hours contract" doesn't mean there are no actual mutual obligations.

Doesn't really help with the legal nature of the ZHC - seems obvious that it's a self-employed contractor situation, which is converted to full employee status by an exclusivity clause.

some big firms (or at least one I know) employs some on 1 hour contracts, perhaps this sounds better than 0 and suggests there's some mutual obligations as it's at least an hour.

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I think that case is saying that just because one side calls it a "zero hours contract" doesn't mean there are no actual mutual obligations.

Doesn't really help with the legal nature of the ZHC - seems obvious that it's a self-employed contractor situation, which is converted to full employee status by an exclusivity clause.

The mutual obligation is only created when the rota is created offering you work, and only then. Not when you sign the contract.

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