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The BBC, the Public Accounts Committee, and zero contract hours…

Diary of an Employable Blogaholic – The BBC, the Public Accounts Committee, and zero contract hours…

So… there have been a few employment related stories doing the rounds over the last few weeks / days and although they are totally unconnected – they ain’t really. Confused? Don’t panic – all will come clear!

Over at the Ivory tower that is the Public Accounts Committee (where the government have all party committees to deal with, yep, you guessed it – Public Accounts), politicians met with BBC and ex-BBC chiefs to work out if there had been any dodgy dealings (my words not theirs) about the BBC and its HR department paying £25m to 150 of their outgoing executives – £2m more than their contracts had stipulated.

Bearing in mind that, I myself had the misfortune of dealing with and being made redundant, I would have quite happily zero contract hourstaken a couple of hundred pounds more than the rock bottom statutory minimum that you get if your employment contract offers you no specific information on what your redundancy payout would be.

Not that I grumble, but you do feel that those public servants over at the BBC, may have been overpaid just a little to leave their publicly paid jobs. Not that I’m bitter of course! However bearing in mind that this is a committee to deal with the Public Accounts, you would like to think that it doesn’t take a committee too long to work out the same thing too.

In the midst of a public committee spending taxpayers’ money pontificating on how the BBC overspent £2 million pounds to its own executives, another story continued to make some (but admittedly not lots of news). That story? The fact that there are shed loads of UK workers on Zero hour contracts. Yep, you read that right. Like me, you’re probably thinking, how can you be a worker if you have a contract that provides you with zero hours? But I digress…

Firstly, don’t get me wrong – much like the BBC story, there are always two sides to the story,  and some people (admittedly, I am not 100% sure on the stats to support this) like the flexibility that a zero our contract can offer.

However, and it’s a ‘big’ however, it doesn’t take long to realise that this is a big opportunity to get lots of people on employment contracts, that when it comes down to it, don’t really mean all that much on paper, never mind wages.

At least in my own case, my contract offered me the statutory minimum that is available within the law for a redundancy payout when the worst happened. I would imagine that for anyone with a zero hour contact, should the worst happen and they lose their job, they probably would not even have a finger, never mind a leg to stand on, with regards to any payoff they may be entitled to.

So, it seems a shame that whilst over at the Public Accounts Committee our esteemed politicians are debating if £25 million pay off was good value for money for those ‘Execs at the BBC’, whilst those folk on zero hour contracts, simply fill a few pages in the tabloid and broadsheet press and not much else. The contracts they’re being given may remove them from the unemployment figures, but offer little else in terms of support or value after that point.

You wonder then whether, with unemployment figures dropping slightly, this is a story that government officials would rather got lost in the medley that is a public committee for potentially over paid, and now void BBC employees? Just saying…


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