Number on zero hours contracts rose by 11,000 this year

Zero hours contracts have increased in Scotland.Zero hours contracts have increased in Scotland.
Zero hours contracts have increased in Scotland.
The number of people on zero-hour contracts in Scotland has risen by 11,000 in 2021.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed that between the months of July and September of this year, around 81,000 people in Scotland were employed on a zero-hour contract – a 0.4 per cent increase on last year. making up three per cent of the country’s employment.

Despite the increase, Scotland still has a lower percentage of people on zero-hour contracts than the UK.

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MP Chris Stephens has spoken out against zero-hours contracts in the past and presented a Workers’ Rights Bill that would have eliminated them. He has also repeatedly urged the UK government to bring in the promised but long-awaited Employment Bill. Employment law is reserved to Westminster.

SNP MP Martin-Docherty Hughes’ Employment Bill is due its second reading on 18 March.

The Scottish Government does not directly employ anyone on zero hours contracts and introduced guidance to ensure that companies bidding for public sector contracts don’t use exploitative zero hours contracts. It is also encouraging businesses to commit to not using exploitative contracts through the Scottish Business Pledge.

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SNP Fair Work and Employment spokesperson, Chris Stephens MP, said: “Whilst the UK Tory government is dragging its feet on bringing in its promised Employment Bill, the SNP Scottish Government are working hard to end zero-hour contracts in Scotland, with Scotland having a lower proportion than the UK.

“Over the last year, my SNP colleagues and I have campaigned tirelessly for the UK government to update and modify current UK employment laws - including scrapping zero-hour contracts, removing the age discrimination within the minimum wage, and bringing in statutory sick pay for all - but we have been ignored by the Tories at Westminster.

He added: “We have presented numerous Bills, including my Workers’ Rights Bill, but many have failed to progress due to lack of UK government support and Westminster’s draconian system whereby Bills are able to be talked out.

“SNP MPs will continue to work to abolish exploitative zero-hour contracts but it is clear that while employment law remains reserved to Westminster, who refuse to bring in a Real Living Wage, people will continue to struggle to get by and have to rely on foodbanks.”

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