Scottish Affairs Committee announces zero hours inquir...

Scottish Affairs Committee announces zero hours inquiry as shock findings show scale of the problem in Scotland

12 September 2013

Unite has welcomed the Scottish Affairs Committee’s decision to respond to the union's evidence and launch an inquiry into the exploitation of workers on zero hours contracts.

The evidence, based on conversations with 300 Scottish zero hours workers, presented by Unite, Britain's biggest union, uncovered real issues with zero hours contracts in Scotland, including:

  • 62 per cent of zero hours workers on rates of pay just above the minimum wage, between £6.19 and £8.55 per hour
  • 69 per cent of zero hours workers said that the insecure nature of their employment made them anxious
  • 72 per cent said that given the choice they would not be on a zero hours contact.

Following yesterday’s evidence session with Unite, the high profile committee, made up of senior MPs, decided to launch an investigation into zero hours contracts in Scotland.

Unite’s research findings, which points to a growing subclass of insecure and low paid workers, were compiled by the independent social survey company Mass1.  This evidence was supported by powerful case studies that members have shared with Unite. These highlighted appalling levels of abuse by rogue employers, who are using zero hours contracts, as a means of keeping pay low and undermining working conditions.

Unite intends to participate fully with the inquiry and will be setting out further evidence that shows the scale of the problem in Scotland, as well as bringing forward further recommendations for action.

Commenting, Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish secretary, said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Affairs Committee has decided to launch an inquiry into zero hours contracts.

“The growth in this phenomenon is the latest mutation of precarious employment, which is condemning millions of workers to an insecure subclass of employment.  People on zero hours contracts are often barred from accessing basic services, like a mobile phone contract or renting a home, as they have no way of planning their finances.  The independent research compiled by Mass1, shows the huge problems Scottish workers on zero hour contracts are facing.

“We have uncovered shocking examples of abuse suffered by workers in Scotland on zero hour contracts and Unite is not prepared to stand by while rogue employers get away with it.  Not only is it a nightmare for workers, it also undercuts decent employers, who treat their employees properly.

“The Scottish Affairs Committee’s inquiry is an important first step in the fight to eradicate the zero hours culture.”


For further information please contact Unite campaigns officer James Bevan on 07711 347645