Brendan Sharp

The gig economy continues to thrive, but more must be done to tackle it 

Theresa May announced on Wednesday that ‘We are proud to have record levels of employment this country but we must also ensure that rights are always upheld’. This is pure political point scoring, and should be taken with a very large dose of salt. For several years now the government has peddled the myth that employment measures in our country, such as zero hour contracts, favour the employee.

The reality is that zero hour contracts still favour the employer, and play a significant role in the manipulated employment figures presented to the public by the government. Theresa May, and David Cameron before her, have constructed a narrative of a fruitful, flexible relationship between the employer and employee in terms of their relationship in zero hours contracts. In truth, many twenty somethings like myself, having worked under these contracts for various companies, are being exploited.

According to The Times, ‘the government said it was proceeding with almost all recommendations including giving zero hour and agency workers the right to request a more stable contract’. It is a farce that so many employers have been able to exploit employees so crudely by not actually signing a legitimate contract, yet such rampant unprofessionalism operates every day – more often than not to suit a company’s own corrupt agenda.

Initially, in the application process, a vacuous verbal promise is made by the employer that you will be given, say, a minimum of twenty hours a week of work. Often as soon as you have worked, for argument’s sake, two weeks, it becomes apparent that you will be given roughly eight hours of work a week, often with a big gap between each shift and on a measly minimum wage, without a proper contract.

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