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Increase in Glasgow Council Workers on Zero Hour Contracts

Recent figures released Labour Councillor Matt Kerr revealed that more Glasgow City Council are working on zero-hour contracts than in the previous year.

The Labour Council released the figure despite a pledge from the party, and many others to end zero-hours contracts.

Zero Hour Figures

The Labour-led local authority and other organisations it works closely with employ 1,689 people on zero-hour contracts, providing no guarantee of work. The figures mark a sharp rise from the 1,436 in the previous year.

The vast majority of the workers are classroom assistants, those working in childcare and exam invigilators. Despite the council admitting in a letter that the council “has no contractual obligation to provide work" it is understood that the workers have other rights that many workers on zero-hour contracts do not have, such as holiday leave and sick pay.

Dave Moxham, Deputy General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), said that although the workers have more benefits than those working on exploitative contracts, he still has "concerns" about the increase in the number of council workers being offered such contracts.

In a statement he said: "Whilst it seems clear that a proportion of these jobs are genuinely casual in nature, it is incumbent on the relevant council departments to review their staffing plans with the unions locally to assess whether there are better ways of managing service in a way which increases levels of employment security for those amongst this number who desire it."

Natalie McGarry spoke out against the Labour council saying: "Almost 1700 workers at Labour's Glasgow City Council and its ALEOs are currently on zero-hour contracts with no sign of the council helping these workers.

Despite this Labour and other parties have pledged to end zero-hour contracts.

Zero Hour Contracts

A zero-hour contracts allows companies to hire workers with no guarantee of work. Staff can be sent home or shifts cancelled last minute if needed. Furthermore, some of the benefits that staff are entitled to under a professional contract are not granted. Many staff do not get holiday entitlement or sick pay if they are unable to work due to illness. As of late 2014 more than 2% of the UK workforce were on zero-hour contracts or similar types of contracts.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 697,000 people were employed on zero-hours contracts for their main job between October and December 2014.

While employees are not guaranteed work and there is no financial security of zero-hour contracts, a survey found that those living on zero-hour contracts work an estimate 25 hours per week. According to the ONS, 16% of those living on such contracts felt that they did not get enough work or were paid enough to support their lifestyle.

Reform More Harm Than Good

Despite the pledge from major political parties to end or reform zero-hour contracts, many believe that such contracts are beneficial to workers as it provides them with flexibility and more freedom. According to research from the CIPD, 38% of workers described themselves as employed full-time despite being on zero hours.

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