Workers at odds with council on zero hours

North Lanarkshire Council's Civic Centre HQ.
North Lanarkshire Council's Civic Centre HQ.

Lifeguards and leisure attendants have appealed to North Lanarkshire Council to scrap their zero hours contracts and give them a ‘living wage’.

The plea came as the Labour-run authority admitted hundreds of its employees and those in council-funded bodies are on contracts which give no guarantee of minimum working hours.

Staff employed by North Lanarkshire Leisure said they get no paid holidays or sick pay and if there is a pool fault they get sent home with no pay.

They pointed out that Labour leader Ed Miliband slammed zero hours contracts on a visit to Motherwell and said it’s ‘hypocritical’ of a Labour council to use them.

They added: “We have been looking after public safety for years, but all we get is exploited in return.”

Council leader Jim McCabe defended the use of zero hours contracts. He said, unlike other employers, the council allows zero hours staff to work elsewhere when not needed.

He added: “While we do have some employees who work on a casual basis – for example, in catering for one-off events – those staff are entitled to work elsewhere. Indeed, many of them have other jobs within the council itself.

“There are also statutory considerations like employing supply teachers, home support workers and leisure attendants in terms of safety ratios when facilities are at their busiest.”

A spokesman for NLL rejected the criticism, saying: “We use casual workers who do not require to work exclusively for us.

“As with all staff, eligibility for sick pay is assessed on individual circumstances, but holidays are either paid or time given dependent on the time worked.

“Where operational circumstances change casual staff are generally paid a full shift, usually being redeployed to other duties.”