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经济学人:就业市场 毫无余地

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Employment

就业市场
Zero tolerance
毫无余地
The problem with zero-hours contracts is not that they are too flexible
零时工合同的问题可不是时间太灵活
BRITAIN'S flexible labour market was a boon during the economic slump, helping keep joblessness down and then, when the recovery began, allowing employment to rise. Yet one of its bendier bits is causing politicians to fret. Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party, has promised a crackdown on “zero-hours contracts” if he wins the next election. The government has launched a consultation.
英国灵活的劳动力市场在经济衰退期间是一个福音,因为这既帮助压低失业率,而且当经济开始复苏又促进就业。但其所带来的一些福利却让政客们烦躁不安。工党领袖埃德·米利班德承诺如果他赢得下次选举,他将打击“零时工合同”。政府也就打击零时工合同的事项展开磋商。

Zero-hours contracts allow firms to employ workers for as few or as many hours as they need, with no prior notice. In theory, at least, people can refuse work. Fully 1.4m jobs were based on these contracts in January 2014, according to a snapsho taken by the Office for National Statistics. That is just 4% of the total, but the share rises to a quarter in the hospitality business.

零时工合同政策允许在没有事先通知的情况下雇佣工人工作,工作时间根据公司需求可长可短。在理论上,至少人们可以拒绝工作。根据国家统计局的统计,2014年1月,有140万个就业岗位是基于这种合约的。虽然只占总数的4%,但在酒店业务份额上,这种合同聘请的员工比例则有四分之一。
The contracts are useful for firms with erratic patterns of demand, such as hotels and restaurants. They have also helped firms to expand during the recovery—allowing them to test new business lines before hiring permanent staff, who would be more costly to make redundant if things went wrong.
零时工合同对酒店和餐馆这样不稳定需求模式的行业十分有用。这些零时工合同帮助公司在经济复苏期扩大规模,其方式是在雇佣固定员工之前测试应聘者的业务水平。因为一旦雇佣固定员工之后,这些员工出了问题,裁员的代价会更高。
Flexibility suits some workers, too. According to one survey, 47% of those employed on zero-hours contracts were content to have no minimum contracted hours. Many of these workers are in full-time education. The ability to turn down work is important to students, who want to revise (or sit in the sun) at this time of year. Pensioners keen for a little extra income can often live with the uncertainty of not having guaranteed hours.
灵活性对一些工人很适用。根据一项调查,47%零时工合同雇佣工对没有最少工时限制很满意,其中有很多人还在接受全日制教育。拒绝工作的能力对学生来说非常重要,因为他们想要在每年的这个时候复习(或者晒太阳)。渴望得到一点额外的收入的养老金领取者也可以在没有固定工作时间这种不确定的情况下游刃有余。
Yet that leaves more than a quarter of workers on zero-hours contracts who say they are unhappy with their conditions. Some of this is cyclical. During recessions, a dearth of permanent positions forces people into jobs with no contracted hours even if they do not want them (the government has just said that unemployed people who refuse to accept zero-hours contracts could be cut off from benefits). Underemployment is particularly prevalent among these workers, 35% of whom would like more hours compared with 12% in other jobs. As the economy recovers, many should be able to renegotiate their contracts or find permanent jobs.
然而,超过四分之一的零时工合同工说他们不满意他们的工作条件。有些不满是周期性的。在经济衰退期间,永久职位的缺乏迫使人们即使在不情愿的情况下也要选择没有合同时间的工作(政府刚刚说拒绝接受零时工合同的失业者有可能再也得不到好处)。这些工人中,失业情况尤其普遍,这些人中有35%想工作更长时间,而从事其他工作的人中只有12%想工作更久。随着经济的复苏,许多人能够重新协商合同或找到固定工作。
But the recovery will not cause unwanted zero-hours contracts to disappear. Some workers will never have much negotiating power: they are constrained by geography, family commitments and lack of competition for their skills among a small number of big employers. Zero-hours contracts make it easier for employers to abuse their labour-market power. Some use them to avoid statutory obligations such as sick and maternity pay. Workers are penalised for not being available when requested. And some contracts contain exclusivity clauses which prevent workers from taking additional jobs. These can harm other employers as well as workers, and actually reduce labour market flexibility. That, at least, is worth doing away with.
但经济复苏不会造成不必要的零时工合同消失。一些工人永远不会有太多的谈判资本: 在少量的大雇主面前,他们受到了地理、家庭承诺和技能竞争力等各方面限制。零时工合同使雇主能够更容易地滥用劳动力市场的力量。一些雇主用它来避免病假工资和产假工资等法定义务。工人们正在因为之前需要他们时没有及时到位而受到惩罚。一些合同还包含排他性条款,防止工人从事其他工作。这些既可以伤害其他雇主,也会伤害到工人;实际上,这也减少了劳动力市场的灵活性。所以至少这一项规定是应该摒弃的。译者:张丹 校对:周晓婷

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costly ['kɔstli]

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adj. 昂贵的,代价高的

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fret [fret]

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v. (使)烦恼,(使)焦急,(使)磨损,侵蚀 n. 烦

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expand [iks'pænd]

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v. 增加,详述,扩展,使 ... 膨胀,
v

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available [ə'veiləbl]

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adj. 可用的,可得到的,有用的,有效的

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prior ['praiə]

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adj. 优先的,更重要的,在前的
adv.

 
base [beis]

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n. 基底,基础,底部,基线,基数,(棒球)垒,[化]碱

 
hospitality [.hɔspi'tæliti]

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n. 好客,殷勤,酒店管理

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prevalent ['prevələnt]

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adj. 流行的,普遍的

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unhappy [ʌn'hæpi]

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adj. 不快乐的,不高兴的

 
recovery [ri'kʌvəri]

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n. 恢复,复原,痊愈

 

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