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ATL Update

by on July 25, 2012

This is just to keep people posted on the ATL `zero hour contracts` issue. Some of you may know we received a written response from the union which they posted on this site.

I wrote to ATL this morning requesting a response to the following questions followed by a short a summary:

  1. Why is the HMRC advising ATL to adopt `zero hour contracts` on what basis?
  2. Does HMRC dispense similar employment advice to FE employers?
  3. ATL by utilising `zero-hour contracts` contravene its policy of opposition towards `zero-hours contracts`, how does ATL reconcile this?
  4. Employers justify `zero-hour contracts` arguing they provide` flexible working arrangements`, the same logic is now provided by ATL, why are ATL campaigning against `zero hour contracts` on the one hand while recruiting staff under such terms?
  5. The role of `Recruitment Assistant` is now described as an “occasional” one – would a `worker` be able to live on this “occasional employment”?
  6. Can ATL specify how holiday entitlement is to be calculated given the anticipated short tenure of the post – hours worked etc?
  7. How would a `Recruitment Assistant` employed under a `zero-hours contract` enforce any pre-employment promises?
  8. A British worker is only able to strike in the furtherance of a trade dispute (The Trade Union and Labour Relations Act 1992 covers this). In the UK you can claim unfair dismissal if you are sacked after striking a legal remedy only available if you posses an employment contract, which the ATL advert for the `Recruitment Assistants` specifically excludes from the arrangement. Therefore, does ATL believe the right to strike should be available to all UK workers?

Legal Eagle subscribes to the view that “the right to strike is a fundamental human right. It gives workers dignity in employment; the right to protest without fearing for your job, your home, your family. It is what separates workers from serfs.”

The announcement this morning (25/07/12) that the government will go to equity and seek an injunction against lawfully striking Home Officers workers (after going through the myriad of statutory obstacles), is deplored. However without an employment contract there is no need to go to law because there is no right to strike.

End of ATL questions and summary.

ATL are of course at liberty not to answer these questions and it is certainly too early in the day to expect a response.

The issue of `zero-hour contracts` is a complex one and I shall be posting an article highlighting the experience of two professionals who have contacted me both with a very different view of `zero-hour contracts`.

Thanks again to everyone who contacted the TUC and the ATL I think it’s made a bit of difference and if nothing else it proves that this country is still a democracy.

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