One In Twelve Young Workers On Zero Hours Contracts
Zero hours contracts took centre stage in the 2015 election, and while Labour promised to abolish them in last year’s general election, they have slipped out of the headlines. However, outside of the news cycle this blight has remained in workplaces up and down Scotland - and according to research commissioned by Scottish Labour one in twelve young workers is on a zero hours contract, compared to one in fifty among the rest of the working population.
Holyrood researchers estimate that at least 26,000 young people in Scotland are subject to these insecure contracts, but the real number could be even higher. The latest figures show that almost a million people are on the contracts across the UK. The Taylor Review commissioned by the British Government last year urged the Tories to allow people to request a move to fixed hours, but progress in this area appears to have evaporated.
But these contracts aren’t just a problem in hospitality. Public money is also flowing to companies that use zero hours contracts in the form of private procurement.
Scottish Labour called on the SNP to ban public contracts for companies taking young workers for a ride. They have also criticised the designation of zero hours jobs as a ‘positive destination’ for school leavers.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:
“Our economy isn’t working for young people, who find themselves more likely to be stuck in insecure, low paid work.
“A UK Labour government would ban zero hours contracts – but there are important steps that could be taken in Scotland right now.
“The SNP government should remove zero hours jobs as a ‘positive destination’ in its surveys of school leavers, even if it makes it more difficult to spin the numbers. An insecure contract is not a positive destination for our young people.
“Crucially, we need to end the taxpayer funded exploitation of workers on public contracts. The Scottish government spends £11 billion on public procurement every year supporting thousands of jobs – this money should not be going to companies who use zero hour contracts.
“This is the people of Scotland’s money – we should be laying down the rules and using it to drive up working conditions.”