Thousands of Welsh workers are being hired on zero hours contracts by Labour councils, despite firm pledges made by the UK Labour leadership.
Figures for 2016/17 (the latest full financial year) show that Swansea Council employed 492 members of staff on such contracts in the year leading up to the last council elections – up from 467 in 2014/15.
Meanwhile at Labour-run Bridgend Council, 283 members of staff were employed on zero hours contracts, down from 328 the year before.
Other Labour-run council administrations disguised some of their employees under the guise of ‘casual staff’ – a category of worker almost identical to those on zero-hours contracts, with no guaranteed weekly hours.
Cardiff (876) and Rhondda Cynon Taf (1044) employed casual workers in large numbers during 2016/17, whilst there was a steep increase in the number of staff with casual agreements at Caerphilly Council – from 190 in 2015/16 to 286 in 2016/17.
Plaid-led councils also contradicted pledges by the party’s national leadership; Gwynedd Council employing 81 members of staff on zero hours contracts in 2015/16 and 50 in 2016/17.
Commenting on the figures, Welsh Conservative Shadow Local Government Secretary, Janet Finch-Saunders, said:
“Despite hysterical virtue signalling by their Leaders on the issue of zero hours contracts, it seems that the practice is alive and well at Labour and Plaid run councils.
“Jeremy Corbyn and Leanne Wood regularly promise to scrap zero hours contracts and yet their councils are more than happy to employ thousands on them.
“It’s rank hypocrisy from politicians who care more about perception than putting their ideas into practice.
“In some instances zero-hour contracts can have a part to play in a modern, flexible labour market – but we have taken steps at UK level to ensure that exploitation is prevented.
“We’ve already the banned exclusivity clauses which have prevented workers from looking elsewhere for employment, and instead of mealy mouthed soundbites, it’s the UK Government which has commissioned an inquiry into employment practices in the modern economy.”
Notes to Editors:
Individual FOI responses available on request.
All councils were asked to provide figures for total number of employees on ‘Zero Hours’ contracts. Some local authorities used the term ‘casual staff/workers’ and those figures are recorded in each instance.
Labour Party pledges to outlaw all zero-hours contracts - https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/29/election-labour-mcdonnell-corbyn-zero-hours-economy