Joe Cullinane

Scottish Labour Councillor for Kilwinning

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Number of Zero Hour Contracts at North Ayrshire Council on the rise - again

A new Freedom of Information request by the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald has revealed that the number of people employed by North Ayrshire Council on zero hour contracts has risen again.

Back on 17th December 2014 Joe asked the SNP administration for an update on how many people were employed on casual contracts and was told there was 521. The latest figures from the FOI request show that number has risen to 592, the vast majority of whom are female (392).

Some "casual workers" have multiple casual contracts meaning that the total number is likely to still be over 900.

Joe, who has been campaigning against these contracts, provided the following comment to the Herald on behalf of the Labour Group.

"These figures show yet another rise in the number of people who the Council employ on zero hour contracts which is disappointing."

"Back in 2013 I secured a review of the Council's "casual contracts". We were assured that every contract would be reviewed and where possible employees would be moved onto regular contracts with regular hours. Since then the number of zero hour contracts has steadily risen."

"When I asked in December how many casual workers had been moved onto regular contracts the SNP spokesperson couldn't tell us. Despite promising to provide the information to all Councillors following the meeting they still haven't done so. There is a complete lack of political will from the SNP administration to tackle this problem."

"Whilst the SNP administration proclaim that zero hour contracts "are sometimes a good way of working" I and the Labour Group will continue to put pressure on them to end their use. Not only do they not provide workers with a stable income but they often result in the employee having no holiday or sick pay entitlement and don't allow them to have access to credit. They are Victorian and should not be so widely used by local authorities like North Ayrshire Council."

Notes:

The official Council minute of Joe's question on 17th December 2014:

a question by Councillor Cullinane to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Support in the following terms:- 
 
"How many individuals does the Council currently employ on casual contracts?" 
 
Councillor Maguire thanked the Member for his question and responded in the following terms:- "
 
In total, the Council had 948 casual worker contracts as at 31 March 2014. This number includes individual employees with multiple contracts, casual workers can have more than one role across services such as catering and cleaning, and also includes those who have registered for casual work but have been ‘inactive’, i.e. not undertaking paid work, e.g. Supply Teachers may register with multiple Councils but do not undertake work for all. 
 
Taking account of the above, the adjusted figure for 31 March 2014 is 540 casual workers. The figure as at 16 December was 521 casual workers." 
 
As a supplementary questions, Councillor Cullinane asked about the outcome of the review and the number of workers who had moved on from casual contracts. 
 
Councillor Maguire responded by indicating that she understood Councillor Cullinane's concerns, but asked him to understand that casual contracts were sometimes a good way of working for, for example, students. Councillor Maguire undertook to provide figures to all Members of the number who had moved from casual to permanent contracts and confirmed that all Services were aware of the commitment to provide permanent contracts wherever possible.

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