Abolish these zero-hours contracts now

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From: Louis Kasatkin, Pinderfields Road, Wakefield.

ED Miliband’s “Victorian management practices” speech reveals a gap, the width of the Grand Canyon, in politicians’ and media commentators’ understanding of what the reality is of being on a zero-hours contract.

In my own case for example: at the end of September, I signed with an agency to do regular night shifts with a major supermarket chain. I was given the assurance that this supermarket chain “does not do zero hours contracts” and neither did this agency apparently.

Four weeks into my contract, of a guaranteed minimum of three shifts a week, the agency, by daily text message, cancelled eight consecutive shifts that I had been due to work. With my last wage being for only two days worked the previous week and no surety of future income, I was forced to immediately re-apply for JSA, and Housing Benefit. All that on top of threats and intimidation from my landlord.

From November 4-17, I had precisely one week’s JSA to subsist on. From my Christian standpoint, zero-hours contracts are utterly morally abhorrent and any politicians or commentator who says different needs to examine their own conscience.

Some 200 years ago, politicians and informed opinion dithered and delayed inexcusably over the abolition of slavery. Slavery no doubt offered certain businesses labour force flexibility much as serfdom once did and zero-hours do now.

As a member of a supposedly ordered and enlightened society which the UK still harbours pretensions of being, I, for my part, will no longer allow myself be treated as human garbage or to be lied to by agencies and employers nor to be threatened and intimidated by private landlords. Zero-hours contracts must be abolished, not 10 years from now, but now.

Stalemate in the pay battle

From: James Anthony Bulmer, Peel Street, Horbury, Wakefield.

ONCE again we are witnessing the cart being put before the horse, when we read the heading “Sentamu urges CBI to banish stain of low pay” (The Yorkshire Post, November 11) and the warning of parallels for haves and have-nots. Presumably, he meant the gap between rich and poor.

Does the Archbishop of York not think that the disparity between rich and poor would stay the same, even if the poor were paid twice the minimum wage, as the employer would have to increase the price of the end product? Stalemate.

Putting our island first

From: Terry Morrell, Prunus Avenue, Willerby.

BILL Carmichael certainly identifies quite a number of the problems of immigrants in his column (The Yorkshire Post, November 14).

My real concern is that the ever-increasing number of immigrants are occupying our space, overcrowding the roads, schools, NHS, housing, prisons and a whole range of other services.

Their necessary daily food needs alone are increasing the need to import more of everything rather than provide normal requirements from home-grown and manufactured supplies.

Our “green and pleasant land” is being rapidly submerged to accommodate their increasing needs. If we must send them “aid”, then let it preferably be a boat loads of condoms, The world is grossly overcrowded and Britain is certainly attracting very large numbers.

If a “lifeboat” gets overcrowded it will sink and everyone will be lost. Not at all easy to stop being charitable but surely there comes a time when we have to consider ourselves?

Why I aim to vote for Ed...

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

IT is clear that next year’s election will be a close run thing, or too close too call, as they say in the USA. I’m disappointed at the extent some commentators concentrate on personalities, rather than issues. Ed Miliband has fallen foul of some severe attacks, from those who seek to play the man rather than the ball.

But I’d rather have a leader on the side of ordinary people than those who make up this current coalition. For despite the supposed end of the recession, people are still getting below- average wage increases. So who is gaining from any economic recovery? Not the working classes, which is why I’ll vote for Ed to be our next PM next May.

Electorate not being taken in

From: David W. Wright, Uppleby, Easingwold.

YET more promises from all of our Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem politicians, all anxious to encourage potential voters to support them in the run-up to the General Election in 2015.

But, judging from opinion polls, it is clear the electorate are not being taken in by the rhetoric and empty promises; the most important one being David Cameron’s promise of a referendum to leave the EU which cannot wait until some indeterminate date after the Election. We need a referendum now.