Young workers plan coordinated Christmas blitz against exploitative employers


Better than Zero to target 12 worst hospitality employers or festive period

YOUNG trade unionists are gearing up to disrupt a dozen of Scotland’s most exploitative businesses over the festive period.

Young workers in the Better than Zero campaign are sorting out secret plans to take action at 12 workplaces across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, at the height of the busy Christmas season.

The planned action would be the most ambitious yet for the movement, which seeks to unionise principally among younger workers in the hospitality sector, where low wages and precarious working conditions are rife.

Speaking to CommonSpace Bryan Simpson, one of the group’s organisers, said: “In the coming weeks the Better than Zero campaign will be organising for a coordinated Christmas action against the 12 worst employers in Scotland.

Young Better than Zero activists training for future actions

“At our organising meetings we agreed upon 12 demands including living wage for all staff, regardless of age, an end to unpaid trial shifts and free transport home to staff working beyond 12am. These will be put to the companies and if they fail to accept we will be taking direct action against their flagship units in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen in December.”

Better than Zero have organised a large number of stunts and creative protests at bars, clubs and restaurants, mainly in Glasgow. They have scored victories, including helping to force the restaurant chain Las Iguanas to end a policy of deducting money from staff tips.

Earlier this month the campaign established itself in Edinburgh, the second city of Scotland’s thriving hospitality and service sector. The expansion came as campaigners agreed to double down on increasingly draconian and exploitative work practices, such as forcing unpaid work, taking pay from workers for necessary work items such as training and uniforms and employing workers on so called ‘zero hours’ contracts, which force poor Scots to work as many or as few hours as an employer demands.

The numbers of workers in zero hours contracts has increased substantially in recent years, with the number UK wide thought to be close to a million.

Pictures: CommonSpace, Better than Zero

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