Celtic slammed for zero hour contracts as Unite demands meeting with club chiefs

Nathanael Williams

Members of the Unite trade union write to club’s chief executive to demand meeting and answers for low paid staff

THE SCOTTISH  YOUTH COMMITTEE (SYC) of the Unite union has expressed its dismay over news that some Celtic employees are working on so called zero hours contracts, and have demanded a meeting with club chiefs to address the issue.

The group which is part of the Unite union, has written a letter to Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell stating that social justice and community responsibility were part of the club’s heritage and suggested the club had a responsibility to end it’s practice of zero hours contracts, which leaves employees without guaranteed contractual work hours and pay. 

The news comes after significant legal wins for unions and campaigners over the use of zero hours contracts at Sports Direct, the sport gear outlet forced to retreat from the use of zero hours contracts this week. 

"However, the use of exploitative zero hours contracts contradicts the proud tradition of Celtic FC of being a vehicle of social mobility and social justice." SYC

In its letter to Lawwell, the committee wrote: "The Unite Youth Committee is acutely aware of the proud history that Celtic FC has and its historical traditions. 

"From its inception as a football club ‘formed for the maintenance of dinner tables for the children and the unemployed’, to its outstanding community outreach and social mobility programmes, Celtic FC has the proud reputation of being more than just a club.

"However, the use of exploitative zero hours contracts contradicts the proud tradition of Celtic FC of being a vehicle of social mobility and social justice. 

"Being trapped within a zero hours lifestyle; by not knowing when you will next get another wage; by not knowing if you have enough money to survive until the next shift is in complete opposition to the values ingrained within the traditions of Celtic FC."

The number of  people who were employed on zero hours contracts in Scotland was 59,000  for October to December 2015.

Many workers in Celtic’s retail stores are employed on zero hours contracts, also knows as 'casual agreements', which both the Scottish Government and Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) say are responsible for workers not being able to meet credit needs, promoting the use of high interest payday loans.

Mike Ashley who is the owner and director of Sports Direct was recently hauled in front of a parliamentary committee to answer for the conditions and pay of his workers.

Also the director of Newcastle United, Ashley was until recently a shareholder in Rangers Football Club where he was denied the chance to apply for majority ownership of the club.

Research by the think tank the Resolution Foundation showed more than two out of three zero hours contract workers in Scotland have worked under their conditions for over a year, disproving the theory that zero hours contracts are a convenience for workers looking for stop-gap work between jobs with better conditions.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of  people who are employed on zero hours contracts in Scotland is 59,000 for October to December 2015, which is around 2.2 per cent of all people in employment. 

This was a reduction from 60,000 in the same period last year.

Picture of courtesy Shaun Wong

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