THE Scottish TUC launches a new campaign from Ayr today to end what it calls the “national disgrace” of zero-hours contracts.
Better Than Zero, run by young people for young people, will take on the issue of insecure work and offer a new phone helpline for expert advice on (0141) 566-6875.
Youth representative Suki Sangha will launch the initiative.
“The use of zero-hours contracts has become a national disgrace, with young people presenting themselves for work only to be sent home again,” said STUC general secretary Grahame Smith.
“Workers are also routinely expected to work additional late hours at short notice, with little or no thought given to how they will get home and whether they will be safe.”
The new helpline is intended to support those who are in non-unionised workplaces on low pay, being forced onto zero-hours and short-hours contracts or suffering from poor working conditions.
Poor conditions are prevalent in catering industries such as fast food, hotels, pubs and club chains and in some areas of retail and social care.
Mr Smith called on the older generation not to stand by while a generation of young people is forced into insecure work.
“Over the past month we have uncovered dozens of accounts of poor employment practice,” he said.
“While the best way young workers can be protected is by joining a union, the hostile attitude of employers means that for many this is currently not an option.”
Trade union lawyers Thompsons will provide the phone line experts.
“Young people provide huge benefits to Scotland’s economy and it’s only right they be properly paid for it,” said Thompsons employment department head Rory McPherson.
“We would encourage any young person who has concerns about zero-hours contracts and low pay or any issue relating to precarious employment to call the helpline.
This article first appeared in the Morning Star.