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In the ‘news’ this week ( were the results of a survey that suggested that more than a million UK workers are on zero-hours contracts with no guarantees of paid work and who can be sent home from their workplace without warning and without having earned anything.  The industries where employers were most likely to report having at least one person on a zero-hours contract were hotels, catering and leisure, education and healthcare.

Although I rarely agree with Union officials, it’s hard not to side with the Unison response to these findings: "The vast majority of workers are only on these contracts because they have no choice. They may give flexibility to a few, but the balance of power favours the employers and makes it hard for workers to complain."

Is it just me who has noticed but are those industries that are mentioned in this report the same industries that are often mentioned in other research as having high incidences of whistleblowing?  The only significant industry not mentioned is financial services, an industry that is historically notorious for high levels of target based incentives.

Is there a link between industries that treat their employees as simple resources, rather than colleagues, and whistleblowing?  The social scientist in me would not want to comment but the pragmatist would suggest it is another symptom of cultures with managers who are unwilling to listen to employees and provide them with opportunities to express their concerns.

When an employee doesn't either know where to go or has little confidence in their managers listening to them, is it surprising that they either shut up and become disengaged or speak up and become ‘troublemakers’ i.e. whistleblowers?

Just thinking out loud.