Zero hour con­cerns

Work­ers look for ad­vice

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.