Begun, the Zero Hour War Has…

Leading the charge against zero hours - Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway.

Leading the charge against zero hours – Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway.

Liam Bateman writes.

As the Parliamentarians returned to the debating chamber following the Christmas break, Labour came back with a rekindled flame of passion, determination and strength, ready to take on the government. This was displayed greatly in Andrew Little’s opening speech as well as in the speech of another. Iain Lees-Galloway stood up, and on behalf of Labour and all those fighting for workers’ rights, and declared war on what I believe is the greatest injustice to be done towards New Zealand workers. Zero hour contracts.

For those who don’t know, I hold Iain in high regard. He was my local MP from 2009-2011 and he was the man who got me involved in the Labour movement. I love hearing him speak in Parliament and smiled as he kicked Judith Collin’s milk stained skirt in Question Time last year. Following Darien Fenton’s resignation and Andrew Little’s election as leader, he was promoted to rank twelve in the party, bringing him onto the frontbench and made Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesman. And he has not taken this job lightly, having taken on Michael Woodhouse and Steven Joyce on workplace issues and also on the issue of zero hour contracts.

For those who don’t know, zero hour contracts enable an employer to dictate the amount an employee can work, meaning they can send an employee home after a full day’s work with no pay whatsoever, meaning the employee does not have a stable income and has to fight for every cent. This kind of behaviour is sickening and it is no way for a worker to be treated.

New Zealand Labour is not the only left wing party in the West to fight them. Another MP I hold in high regard, the Beast of Bolsover, Dennis Skinner announced Ed Miliband would criminalise the contracts if he wins in two months time. This not only demonstrates an international unity in the Western left, but also shows UK Labour is moving away from Blairism, which allowed these to flourish. Dennis SKinner informed Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith of a harrowing incident in his constituency.

How vile is that? A woman giving birth in the Sports Direct toilet on New Year’s Day because of an employment contract? This displays the disgusting abuse that is a result of this regime.

The call has received widespread support from New Zealand First, the Greens, unions and the Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit, who called for a boycott of businesses that use these contracts. Obviously, the message is clear for National. Get rid of them.

On some threads, I have actually seen people try to defend these. Sorry, but how can you defend these vile contracts. If you can justify how it’s right to cause a Sports Direct employee to have panic attacks due to her income, another worker to give birth in the bathroom and how a man who got sick was forced to work in Burger King, please leave a 1000 word essay below. Otherwise, get out of the way and let us fight for the honour and dignity that all working New Zealanders deserve!


One thought on “Begun, the Zero Hour War Has…

  1. Zero hours contract are incredibly cruel, no one can have a decent life trying to exist on zero hours contract with no idea each week what your weekly incomes will be.
    People on zero hours contracts must be very stressed if not depressed as life must be incredibly difficult to live like that. Paying bills will be an almost impossible some weeks and no doubt people go without.
    Zero hours contracts should not exist in a decent society and is only marginally better then slavery. This is 2015 not 1815 and totally unacceptable. Employers who use zero hour’s contracts are nothing short of despicable callous selfish people who should be named and shamed.
    There is absolutely no justification for such contracts it’s just another example of both business and government’s failure to ensure employees earn sufficient income but they’d rather workers live in an environment of fear.
    The government claim that some employees like the flexibility of zero hours contract, I doubt if there are any employee who likes this, just another myth from this evil government.

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