We need to put an end to zero hour contacts

by Elaine Dougall, Unite Scotland Regional Women and Equalities Officer 


These type of contracts mean:

Zero hours

Zero holidays

Zero sick pay

The use of zero hour contracts in workplaces across the UK exploits workers rights and dignity. Zero hours contacts give employers the right to not pay you when you’re on holiday or sick. These contracts mean that workers have no guaranteed weekly hours or income, only being paid for the work they do. Therefore from week to week you don’t know the wage you are going to get.

A recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development highlighted that over 1 million workers are on these types of contracts. Moreover, the survey found that the majority of workers who are on zero hours contracts are 18 – 24 years old.

Young people still need to pay to live just like everyone else. The worry is, for many young women and men who are trying to earn enough just to live – what will they turn to get a living wage?

Zero hours contracts are beneficial for employers as it gives a high degree of flexibility. For example, during a busy period in a particular industry the employer can give you hours. But, when they are quiet they will let you go and have little regard for your bills, rent or life.

Unite are trying to eradicate these contracts. Unite has called on the Scottish Government to reform its public procurement agenda in order to tackle the rise of employment rights abuses across our economy. Unite have also set up a survey which you can fill in here.

The exploitation of workers needs to stop.