Last week Scottish Labour published data researched by the House of Commons library that showed 82 per cent of jobs created in Scotland since 2010 are low-paid. They also revealed that 28 per cent of the 27,000 new jobs created north of the Border since 2010 are zero hours contracts. Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran said:
“This Government stands up for the wrong people: they help out their friends who have been avoiding their taxes, yet they do not help those who work hard and play by the rules, but do not even get a decent wage in return.
Last year the Labour led Scottish Affairs Committee published a report on the use of Zero-Hours contracts in Scotland. That report said “too often, the relationship is unbalanced, leaving the employer with all of the flexibility and few costs and the worker in fear of dismissal, denied access to due rights of employment and, in some cases, earning less than the minimum wage.”
Shortly after that report Ed Miliband was in Scotland launching the findings of the Pickavance Review into how to help employers compete on higher wages, skills and productivity – rather than on exploitative zero hours contracts. He said:
“most employers don’t use them and for good reasons: the widespread use of zero-hours contracts is incompatible with building a loyal, skilled and productive workforce. And we also know a minority of employers are misusing zero hours contracts as a crude way of cutting costs or managing staff. “It has left too many people not knowing how they will make ends meet from one week to the next, and unable to plan for the future.”
Exploitative zero-hours contacts are leaving thousands of people worried about whether they will have enough work or be able to put food on the table from one week to the next. This sort of job insecurity, which the Tories have done nothing to tackle, is putting an unnecessary strain on family life. It’s not the way Scotland should be competing in the 21st Century.
Labour is committed to ensuring that everyone is properly protected in the workplace.
1) We will abolish exploitative zero-hours contracts, with rules introduced to give new rights to employees on zero-hours contracts. This will include the right for employees who have consistently worked regular hours to receive a fixed-hours contract automatically.
2) We will ban employers from requiring zero-hours workers to be available on the off-chance that they’ll be needed.
3) We will stop employees from being required to work exclusively for one firm if they are on a zero-hours contract.
4) We will also ensure that zero-hours workers who have their shifts cancelled at short notice will receive compensation from their employer.
Only Labour can make the changes we need to end exploitative zero-hours contracts.