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Maximum protection sought for workers

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Maximum protection sought for workers
DUMFRIES and Galloway Council this week took a firm stance against zero hours contracts – but councillors want to go one step further.

The local authority is to be accredited as a silver member of the Zero Hours Justice Scheme, which will demonstrate the council’s commitment to ethical employment contracts – and create sustainable and regular employment opportunities for individuals.
However, there is a top tier gold level which also ensures that no third party agencies working with the council are operating with zero hours contracts, giving employees little stability or rights.
There are some procurement and employment laws which need to be addressed in order for the council to reach gold member status, but councillors intend on lobbying Scottish and UK governments in an attempt to achieve this.
The matter was discussed at the council’s economy and resources committee on Tuesday.
Stranraer and the Rhins Councillor Willie Scobie said that the silver commitment “doesn’t go far enough”, which was echoed by North West Dumfries Councillor Andy Ferguson.
Annandale North Councillor Stephen Thompson said: “I’d rather go for gold than silver. Silver is good – but it’s second best. Why would we settle for that?”
He added: “And if we’re serious about standing up for something, we should go all the way. Unless we want to find a halfway house that’s a wee bit lukewarm.”
The Zero Hours Justice Campaign, founded and funded by philanthropist Julian Richer, has been endorsed by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).