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SNP dubs contracts 'toxic'

Sharp fall in Scottish workers on zero hours contracts

WorkersA sharp cut in the number of people in Scotland working zero hours has been hailed as an endorsement of government policy in improving employee rights.

New figures reveal 8,000 fewer people on zero hours arrangements in Scotland in 2018, compared to the previous year, falling from 71,000 to 63,000. This follow a drop of 7,000 in 2017.

The SNP government said the data shows that steady progress is being made in improving workers’ employment conditions and continues to be lower than the rate in England and Wales for the second year running. 

SNP MSP Sandra White, describing zero hours contracts as “toxic” and “exploitative” said they can leave people without the income they need to live and with no means to budget for them and their families.  

“It’s extremely encouraging to see further progress is being made, with 8,000 fewer folk in Scotland employed on zero-hours contracts than there were last year. And that comes on top of the previous year which saw a 7,000 drop on 2016’s figures – so there’s clearly steady progress being made. 

“This is a credit to the SNP prioritising fair work, leading by example in government and the public sector and encouraging business to follow suit. 

“We’re performing better than the Tories in England and Labour in Wales in tackling the prevalence of toxic zero hours contracts and these latest figures are extremely welcome indeed.

“We’ll continue to raise our ambition in government and strive for even greater rights for workers at Westminster where, sadly, most powers over employment remain.”

Labour has pledged to abolish zero hours contracts, even though many workers – such as freelancers – welcome the flexibility they provide. Many employers also find they enable them to adjust labour requirements according to fluctuations in workload.

Zero hours are commonly used in a number of sectors including retail, hospitality, seasonal work such as agriculture, and the newspaper industry.

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