Employment Figure Fiddles

The government likes to boast about the huge rise in people in employment in the past few years, but the largest proportion of this increase is made up of people on zero hours contracts and supposedly self-employed people.

What are “zero-hours contracts”?

The Office for National Statistics reports as follows:
There is no single agreed definition of what “zero-hours contracts” are. While some contracts are explicitly called zero-hours contracts, there are other definitions available and used in published statistics. The common element to the definitions is the lack of a guaranteed minimum number of hours.

The results from the November 2016 survey of businesses indicated that there were 1.7 million contracts that did not guarantee a minimum number of hours, where work had actually been carried out under those contracts. This represented 6% of all employment contracts.

One point seven million people who are not guaranteed a minimum number of hours.  Many of these will travel to work only to be told that there is no work for them and they should go home.

The Tories and their friends in the right wing press like to trot out the occasional student or other person for whom a zero hours contract is suitable in support of the whole concept.  This is not the case for the majority.  The ONS reports. Around one in three people (32%) on a “zero-hours contract” want more hours. That’s over half a million people.

It’s easy to see why the Tory government love these contracts.  It enables them to count people in non jobs as employed.

What about self-employment?

It is obvious from the statistics that self employment is yet another way in which the employment figures are fiddled.

The ONS reports self-employment in UK at highest level since records began almost 40 years ago.  Critics say that the fact that 15% of the workforce is classed as self-employed is driving pay down, threatening retirement income,  destroying job security and reducing tax revenue.

Of the 1.1 million increase in the total number of workers in the UK between the first quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2014, 732,000, or just over two-thirds, were classed as self-employed.

Self-employed people have on average experienced a 22% fall in real pay since 2008-09, according to the ONS.

Jeremy Corbyn is the only leader prepared to do something about it.