Zero Hours: the ultimate con-tract

Picture the scene:
You are preparing for a job interview.
The best suit comes out.
You rehearse your corporate lines.
This is a big deal. It’s a step up.

The company is a global success. And popular.
It boosts your own credentials to be associated with them.
You turn up to the interview. Smart, confident and nervous.
You project yourself. Remember your CV. Rehearse your lines.

It goes well. Three people interviewing you for 45 minutes.
You handled yourself pretty well.
They seem pleased.
They ask you a question: “Have you got any questions?”
You pause, so as to give the impression of thoughtfulness.
Not too long mind, you don’t want to ruin their impression of you.

“I do” you say. “When will I hear if I’ve been successful?”
“Right now,” they reply. “You have been successful, and we offer you the job.”
“That’s fantastic,” you reply, in joyful shock.
“You can start next Monday, and we’ll have an office ready for you then.”
“Wonderful. What about the contract?”
Their eyes light up. The contract. Of course!

They look at each other, and the middle one gets up and leaves the room. Silently.
He comes back two minutes later with a goat.
Right in front of you he slaughters the goat and cuts it in half.
Blood splatters your razor-sharp suit.
You sit there stunned. Is this for real? Are there hidden cameras?

The other two interviewers helps lay out the goat carcass.
Blood everywhere.
All three seem to be merely involved in some corporate team-building game.
They too are covered in blood.

An employee walks in, looks at the goat, looks at you and says, “Congratulations on getting the job. Would you like a cup of tea?”
“Er, yes please?” you answer confusingly.

“Now, the contract” they say.
The door closes. The executive squelches out!
Tea is coming. The interviewers stand up. Hands red with blood. Their faces saying, “All normal here!”
“The contract is taken very seriously in this company!”
“Is it?” you secretly think.
“Yes it is,” they reply, as if hearing your secret thoughts.
“We have sacrificed this animal, and cut it in half. We will walk between the two halves with you, and we will make promises together…”
“Um…what do you mean?”

“We will promise to pay you well, to ensure your wellbeing, see you thrive, give you ample time off to spend with your family, and ensure the small print is writ large.
You will walk through the two pieces and promise to give us your best creative genius, your hard-work and loyalty. We will look after you and you will look after us.
If we fail you, you may do to us as we have done to this goat. If you fail us, may we do to you as we have done to this goat.”

In many employee situations today, zero hours contracts being chief god among them, we see the sacrificing not of goats, but men and women, in the name of an old god we call ‘economic progress.’ He is also known as ‘Mammon’ – the ultimate Con-tract!
How can an advanced industrialised nation reduce men and women to the level of animals for slaughter?
Of course! It can because it is “advanced” and “industrialised”.
In what way is it civilized to slaughter men and women like this?
Change the name. Change the words. Change the place.
But the god is the same.
Mammon reigns. Mammon rules. All hail Mammon.

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