According to the latest data from the Office for National statistics, Scotland has the highest proportion of its employed workforce on zero hours contracts of all the four nations of the UK.
At 3.9% (105,000), this is higher than the UK average of 3.4% and is higher than proportion for the other parts of the UK - England (3.5%), Wales (2.8%) and Northern Ireland (1.3%). The comparision with zero hours contract in England is particularly concerning, given that the significantly larger population and employed workforce in the latter.
Whilst there are more people on zero hours contracts in London (180,000), at 3.7% of the employed workforce in London, this is still a lower proportion than in Scotland - but only just.
Tam WIlson, the co-ordinator to the Scottish Trade Union Congress (TUC)' Better than Zero campaign told the Morning Star: "It’s risible that Scotland now has the highest use of zero hour contracts across the UK.”. He added:
Zero-hour contracts are a product of an exploitative employment model that aims to strip workers of their power and treat them as dispensable. They are not just used to cut wage costs, but also to exploit and control. It is important for zero-hour contract workers to collectivise so they can challenge poor workplace conditions collectively rather than be picked off individually.
Roz Foyer, the general secretary of the Scottish TUC, has said that the latest ONS figures is proof that employment law needs to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
However, Scotland is not the only part of the UK that should be concerned about the rise in the number of people on zero hours contracts, compared to the same period (Jan-March) last year. Many regions in the UK did see an increase but the good news is that the number of zero hours contracts actually fell in the North East, South East, West Midlands, South West of England and in Wales
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