Banning zero-hour contracts was the single most popular initiative in Fuller Democracy 2016. In fact, 100% of people who took part voted in favour of banning these work arrangements, in which an employee is ‘on call’ to their employer, who, however, is not obligated to provide them with a minimum number of fixed working hours.
Limiting unpaid internships was scarcely less popular with 89% of people voting to limit them to one month in length.
Both of these measures are geared towards evening up the bargaining power between employer and employee. They ensure that work translates into wages, which means that ultimately the output of that productivity is ploughed back into our economy. This is important, because one of the biggest reasons for our economic problems is that each worker has become much more productive since the late 1970s, but this increased productivity has not been matched by increased wages. A hundred years ago, Henry Ford knew that his enterprise would only work if his workers could afford to buy the cars they were producing. Somehow, we have forgotten that very obvious point. There is a place for working for free in our society: it’s called charity.
I therefore oppose re-opening JobBridge as a form of ever-extending, long-term underpaid labour, and I support legislation to ban zero-hour contracts (in draft stage as of spring 2017).