Better than Zero organises to take on unpaid bar work across Scotland


Anti-exploitation campaign set to expand outside of Glasgow

THE BETTER THAN ZERO campaign are meeting tonight to discuss plans to escalate their fight against exploitative working practices including unpaid work in Scotland’s thriving bar scene.

Trade unionists say the practice of recruiting staff for unpaid bar work, sometimes with the promise of experience or future employment, is rife in Scotland.

The meeting comes after a year of intensive campaigning by the outfit, which is mainly organised by workers in their teens and early twenties.

Speaking to CommonSpace a Better than Zero organiser said: “Tonight workers from across Glasgow and further afeild will be coming together to develop their own campaign strategies for taking on the worst bosses in hospitality and retail.

“Better than Zero's main campaign in the barwork industry for example will be to end unpaid trial shifts – a disgraceful practice which is still all too prevalent throughout hospitality.”

The meeting is also set to discuss plans for nationwide expansion.

Young Better than Zero activists training for future actions during the summer holiday season

Though Better than Zero began as a campaign group in Glasgow aimed at tackling exploitative work practices in the service sector, it is now working on plans to expand into Edinburgh and to other locations in Scotland

Better than Zero have spent the summer planning and training for a renewed offensive on Scottish businesses they feel have created an exploitative working environment, especially for young people in un-unionised and under regulated areas of the economy.

On 22 July, the campaign marked its anniversary with a training day for the dozens of new young activists it has attracted since its first stunt in August 2015, a musical flashmob protesting working conditions at a bar in Glasgow’s up-market Ashton Lane.

Since that first action, Better than Zero have organised a string of creative protests and scored some victories, helping to overturn the practice of deducting money from staff tips in one UK wide restaurant chain.

The organising meeting will take place at 6pm at the Scottish Trade Union Congress headquarters on Woodlands Road in Glasgow.

Pictures: Suki Sangha, Better than Zero

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