Merton Rapped For Zero Hours Contracts

Nearly 900 staff on zero hours contracts

Merton council has been criticised for employing nearly 900 people on zero hours contracts.

It is one of five Labour-run councils in London which campaigners have exposed for offering these types of contracts.

A zero hours contract gives staff no guaranteed hours, and they've recently come under fire after trade unions revealed many private sector companies are now using them.

Merton Councillor Mark Allison, Cabinet Member for Finance, revealed there are 860 people on zero hours contracts at Merton Council.

But he pointed out that none of them are subject to limitations on working elsewhere, and they often suit the workers involved.

But the Merton Green Party branded the use of the contracts as "disgusting" and called on the council to offer the workers involved a permanent contract.

Councillor Allison said a number of those it employed on zero hours contracts also had full-time jobs at the council, with an additional zero hours contract gaving them the possibility of extra work.

He said: "Yes, we use casual workers, but they are not the type of contracts that cause concern, as they are all able to go and work elsewhere. It is convenient for them and efficient for us. We are not thinking of changing it.

"More than 60 of our casual workers are sailing instructors, for example. That work isn't around all the time, and very often they will be students looking for some extra money."

The other four Labour-run London councils criticised for offering zero hours contracts are Ealing, Brent, Tower Hamlets and Hounslow.

August 9, 2013