The Scottish Socialist Party has challenged the Rutherglen and Hamilton West Labour candidate to publicly condemn his party’s backsliding and betrayal on abolition of zero hours contracts.
The SSP has been campaigning on the streets for an outright ban on all zero hours contracts, to be replaced by a legally guaranteed minimum 16-hour contract for every worker who wants one.
Bill Bonnar, Scottish Socialist Party candidate in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, said:
“It’s not just rotten hourly rates of pay that creates poverty for workers and their families, but the modern form of slavery that is zero hours contracts. Scotland has the dishonour of being the UK’s zero hours capital, with the numbers rising to 109,000.
“These contracts give all the flexibility to the employers, all the insecurity to workers. It removes guarantees of paid holidays, paid sick leave, or job security. It makes it impossible to plan your life, or get a mortgage or bank loan, as the actual hours worked don’t count when it comes to creditors.
“During SSP street campaigning, we’ve met hundreds of workers in local retail, hospitality, and care work who suffer these conditions.
“The Scottish Socialist Party are unique in campaigning not only for every single zero hours contract to be abolished, but every worker who wants one to be legally guaranteed a minimum contract of 16 hours-a-week.
“The only exemptions should be where a worker, accompanied by their union representative, requests and negotiates lesser hours to fit their other life commitments. No employer should be legally allowed to offer less than a 16-hour minimum. Combined with a £15-an-hour minimum wage, that would give part-time workers a half-decent income, and some control over their lives.
“I challenge Labour’s candidate to publicly disown his party’s betrayal of previous promises on this issue. In their latest U-turn, Starmer’s Labour has announced they will only scrap ‘exploitative’ zero hours contracts. As far as I’m concerned, they are ALL exploitative, and should all be banned.
“Alongside Labour’s retreats on union recognition rights, and outright refusal to repeal all anti-union laws imposed by Maggie Thatcher’s Tories and kept intact by Tony Blair’s Labour governments, this is the latest betrayal of workers by a party that has long since lost the right to call itself Labour.”
SSP Campaign Manager in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, Richie Venton, said:
“I devised and pioneered the policy of a guaranteed 16-hour minimum working week, first as an elected union workplace convener – winning this guarantee for 13,000 workers after 3 years of campaigning – then through my national union into the entire Scottish trade union movement.
“At the 2019 Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), I proposed this policy on behalf of my union, and it was agreed without a single vote against it. In proposing abolition of every single zero hours contract, I denounced the weasel words ‘exploitative zero hours contracts’, which up until that point was the phrase of Labour, the SNP, and indeed many union leaders. ‘They’re ALL exploitative, so abolish them all’, was the agreed policy adopted by the STUC. Now Labour has reneged on that.
“The SSP is the genuine voice of workers and the trade union movement in this by-election.
“Whose side are Labour on – workers, or the ruthless profiteers who rely on this modern slavery to fill their company bank accounts?”
For more information, or to interview Bill Bonnar, contact SSP Campaign Manager Richie Venton on 07828278093 or email@example.com