Zero hour concerns
Workers look for advice
Nearly 100 people have approached Rutherglen and Cambuslang Citizens Advice Bureau in the last eight months for advice because they are on zero-hour contracts.
But the CAB warned this week the situation in the two towns could be even worse. Figures released this week by the group showed 97 cases about zero-hour contracts had been recorded since the start of the 2014/15 financial year.
The issue of zero-hour contracts has hit the headlines in the past months with dozens of employers being criticised for their use.
According to the Office of National Statistics there are around 1.4 million employees with zero hour contracts in the UK. Figures suggest the many of these workers are more likely to be female, either under 25 or over 65, and more likely to want to work more hours than they currently do.
Rutherglen and Cambuslang CAB manager, Sharon Hampson, reckons the true figure in the local area who have looked for advice is actually much higher than 97.
She said: “We have seen a surge in people on zero hour contracts seeking advice. Given that we have several headings under employment for our volunteers to note this information, there is the possibility it is actually far in excess of 100.”
Ms Hampson added: “The Citizens Advice Bureau offers free advice and support to people in Rutherglen and Cambuslang. In the past year we have dealt with over 7,000 cases and dealt with 29 issues for every 100 households in the area.
“If anyone in Rutherglen and Cambuslang needs advice on a range of issues, they can contact us on 0141 646 3191 or visit us at Kyle Court, 17 main Street, Cambuslang G72 7EX.”
Rutherglen MSP, James Kelly wants the use of zero-hour contracts should be banned.
He said: “Too many people in Rutherglen, Cambuslang, and across Scotland are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty pay. Wages are too low and because of zero hour contracts too many people don’t have security of hours. It makes it impossible to plan you budget week to week if you don’t know what your pay packet will look like.
“This has to end. I backed banning zero hour contracts for our workers on public contacts earlier this year. Whilst the Scottish Government did not support my measures the issue isn’t going anywhere. We have to ban exploitative zero hour contracts to start building a better, fairer economy.”
However, the Scottish Government’s spokesperson for Business Minister Fergus Ewing laid the blame for zerohour contracts at the door of Labour, saying Tony Blair had reneged on a pledge to ban them during his term in office.
He also accused Labour-led councils of using them, adding: “By contrast, there are no people on zero hours contracts within the direct employment of the Scottish Government. Banning the inappropriate use of zero hours contracts would require the Scottish Parliament to have powers over employment law, which is currently reserved to Westminster.
“The Scottish Government is doing what it can within the powers available to it to tackle the inappropriate use of zero hours contracts, which will include issuing statutory guidance under the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 on how workforce-related matters should be considered when assessing the suitability of a company to bid for public contracts.”
Growing concern Kate Hampson at the local CAB