Monday, 5 August 2013

BBC RADIO LEICESTER, THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: BAHÁ'Í COMMENT ON ZERO HOURS CONTRACTS


I pop into BBC Radio Leicester this afternoon to record a Thought for the Day with Producer, Rebecca Bryers. This one's for broadcast on Jonathan Lampon's breakfast show, Wednesday 7 August - and here's how it sounded on the day:
JL: It's time for Thought for the Day, which comes today from George Ballentyne, a local Bahá'í.
GMB: Good morning
This week we learned that over a million UK workers are on zero hours contracts, a figure four times higher than previously thought.
If this way of working fits in with your way of living, it can be a perfectly good way of staying in gainful employment. But for some other workers, they are always on standby, without guarantee of any pay for any work in any period. They must turn up at their place of work if and when required, often at very short notice, with barely time to make arrangements for dependants.
For some, this can make it difficult to access the kind of financial services (credit, loans, mortgages and so on) on which our daily dealings depend.
In the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, one of the central figures of the Bahá'í Faith, "arts, sciences and all crafts are (counted as) worship. The man who makes a piece of notepaper to the best of his ability, conscientiously, concentrating all his forces on perfecting it, is giving praise to God. Briefly, all effort and exhertion put forth by man from the fulness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity. This is worship: to serve mankind and to minister to the needs of the people. Service is prayer."
As a Bahá'í, it's my hope that our society does not forget the dignity and nobility of good, productive work - and the dignity of the worker - even in these difficult times.
JL: Thought for the Day there, which came from George Ballentyne, a local Bahá'í.

I send the text to Becca a couple of hours before I go in to record it. She feels obliged to ask me to tone it down a bit - twice. I feel righteously indignant about this issue and have used a quotation from The Promise of World Peace to illustrate that, but it was all a little too hard-hitting as a Thought for the Day. I rewrite the piece on the hoof - literally - on the half hour walk from Christians Aware in Saxby Street down to St Nicholas Place (Well, not all that literally, since I don’t have hooves and even if I did, it would probably be quite hard to use them to type on an iPhone). Becca talks me down off my high horse and helps me deliver something more suited to the format and time slot.

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