October 8th, 2018

Vexen Crabtree 2015

Zero Hours Contracts and the Church of England

Zero-hours contracts and "lower-class" debt are two elements that some associate with "modern slavery", because it can often mean that victims have no choice but to go along with the demands and machinations of corporate policy, no matter how abusive it is, or how damaging it is to their lives.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, managed to embarrass himself in 2018 Sep when he denounced zero-hour contracts as "the reincarnation of an ancient evil" (he means: slavery), and also angrily criticized Amazon of avoiding paying tax, saying they are "leeching" off of the public. This isn't a new area for him - he genuinely campaigns on the behalf of many needy people in his attempts to highlight the damage that unregulated capitalism can do. If Amazon paid more tax, social welfare would help prevent more people from falling into debt bondage. So, denouncing Amazon for leeching off of the public is consistent with his defence of the poor. But despite his moral stances, he appears to be forgetting that "some of the Church of England's biggest investments are in Amazon, and that the Church itself routinely employs people on zero-hours contracts".

Clearly, he should be campaigning for better basic moral considerations with the Church of England's own behaviour, in order to avoid his own position being ridiculed for its hypocrisy. But the biggest point of contradiction by far is that the Church of England is tax-exempt, even whilst owning a £2 billion land estate. Its Commissioners control a £8.3bn investment portfolio which they could freely use to invest into moral tax-paying, workers-right-supporting institutions. If the source of the energy behind the Archbishop's attacks wasn't a guilty-conscience, then, it certainly should have been!

A week afterwards, by coincidence, after a long consultation, Amazon in the USA announced that it is raising the minimum wage of all employees to $15/hour.

Posted this as section 3.6 on http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/slavery.html .