The STUC Youth Conference raises concerns about the rights of workers in causal employment
A MOTION WAS passed at the STUC Youth Conference this weekend calling for better regulation to protect young people working in casual employment.
The conference expressed concern at student debt rising across the UK, and that many students feel that they have no choice but to work longer hours while studying, in order to meet living costs or fund their education.
The conference agreed that young people are vulnerable to being exploited by companies and employers providing casual employment using a range of employment contracts such as zero-hours contracts and variable hours contracts.
Murray Swann from the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), who moved the motion, said: “When you go through your teaching, and you are doing your teacher training, it is so difficult.
“Often [your employer] are phoning you or texting you on the day that you are meant to be working to tell you, saying no, you are not needed today.” Murray Swann, EIS
“The last thing that you need is an employer – who knows what they are doing. Management is fully aware of what they are doing – absolutely hammering you at your work.
“Often they are phoning you or texting you on the day that you are meant to be working to tell you, saying no, you are not needed today.”
“If we want the best for our future generations, we must ensure that casual employment is struck down, is condemned and we are providing fair rights for our workers.”
Erin McAuley from the Unite union, who second the motion, told conference about the difficulty she and her colleagues face by trying to hold down a job and attending university.
“If we want the best for our future generations, we must ensure that casual employment is struck down, is condemned and we are providing fair rights for our workers.” Murray Swann EIS
McAuley said: “Balancing or being on a zero-hours contract while at university is a stressful situation and far too many students are making a decision whether they are going to their compulsory classes or going to their jobs.
“That pressure of employment and not having stability in your life is something that all of us should be vocalising and making sure is not happening. “
McAuley added: “Too many students don’t know that they are being exploited and they are leaving class to go into their jobs.
“I think that this motion is really important and ties into the Better than Zero campaign and I do think that we need to bring it to students as it is focused on young people.
“Too many students don’t know that they are being exploited and they are leaving class to go into their jobs.” Erin McAuley, Unite union
“No one should be making a decision of going to a class or going to employment, because working is a human right and casual employment needs to be made history.”
The conference is increasingly concerned about the working arrangements in which company controls work, the supply of work and the rate of work, but denies the employee basic employment rights such as sick pay.
The STUC youth committee will urge the Scottish Government to campaign for better employment laws to protect casual workers and for an expedited route to employment tribunals for those who are involved in those contracts.
Conference added that there should be a more “enabling regulatory environment to support young workers include additional statutory rights”. These include higher minimum wage for youth and greater protection for those employees against the threat of unfair dismissal.
Picture courtsey of David Thomson
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