Gig economy, politics and pay

Norman Younger
Director
Maximiti Limited
Columnist
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As usual legislation lags behind reality and we have a new word in our lexicon - "gig" .  Good for Scrabble on a tight board but somewhat trickier to define vis a vis employment status.

One thing is clear in all this. Disruptors have not so much disrupted the market but driven a coach and horses through employment legislation by pushing the envelope on status. Now, in a truly competitive economy it is dog eat dog and the punters are free to decide whether or not to pitch for a "gig" and indeed some may be on the books of several "gig" firms , so why is this subject so controversial and why can existing legislation not cope ?

No doubt the eagerly awaited government report will answers the questions but what woudl happen if all these gig workers simply downed tools ?  Why is it that they cannot organise themselves properly like the wonderful good old picket lines of my childhood  ? The sort of stuff Jeremy Corbyn must lie in bed at night and dream about , donkey jackets, brazier, rowdy jeering at blackleg labour and a friednly copper pacing up and down in a trenchcoat. Ah... the stuff of yesteryear. I digress.

Perhaps it is because they very essence of a gig economy means that there is no way to enforce strike action - no gate to picket ! 

So , now that I have identified the real issue I trust the report will state that all gig workers must clock-on and regsiter on a central website that all other gig workers can see in real time. labour will de facto be "unionised" anybody breaking the strike would be...er..um....

Okay, so that plan has backfired but I am curious to know whether gig workers are young or old . I suspect that many older workers are quite happy with their lot of zero hours / gig working , as often they work as a lifestyle choice and if the companies taking up their offer to work can get away with paying low rates then we are again in a true supply and demand equilibirum with no need for regulation.

So , what about the young workers ?  Prior to the gig economy what were they doing , where were they employed ? Is a gig job not better than no job or to sitting on the ocuh with an Xbox ? I must admit that I don't know what exactly an Xbox is and have never seen one , but have heard about them . Honestly , I live in ignorant bliss of such fripperies. 

If we really really are so indignant about using gig workers then as consumers is it not up to us to boycott these firms ? 

To me the gig economy question boils down to one thing - is there really a case to answer or is it simply a political football ?

 

 

 

 

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12th Jul 2017 10:41

The Government is worried about this style of working because it erodes their tax base. Labour doesn't get that some people don't want to work 9-5.30 40 hours a week. Surveys have shown that most people on zero hours contracts are happy with the arrangement. I worked like this for over a year and enjoyed the flexibility to spend more time with my family and do all those things that you cannot do after working hours because not all businesses offer flexible working hours!

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By chatman
14th Jul 2017 17:19

Knight Rider wrote:
Surveys have shown that most people on zero hours contracts are happy with the arrangement

Can you give us a link to any of these surveys?

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to chatman
17th Jul 2017 12:30

https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/zero-hours-and-short-hours-contracts-in-th...

Above report shows higher satisfaction amongst ZHC workers than employees generally.

Surveys of MCDonalds ZHC employees have also been positive.

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