At this weeks Sedgemoor District Council meeting the Labour Group attempted to commit the Council to take the view that Zero Hours contracts should not be imposed on employees and workers but were roundly defeated by a solid Tory vote to keep them in place.
In a motion proposed by the Group Leader Cllr Mick Lerry (Bridgwater Victoria) he stated “This would be detrimental to the Local Economy and Economic Growth, as those employees are often on low pay and unable to borrow loans or take out mortgages, because their income is so vulnerable.”
Cllr Lerry continued “We want this council to take the view that Zero Hour contracts are not appropriate. The next Labour Government will ban them.”
‘Decent jobs, decent pay, regular work’
Seconding the motion Cllr Julian Taylor (Bridgwater Eastover) said “This is a very real problem and has a knock on effect on children and families. In the 19th century people could be taken on and dismissed at will and this is the same. It is clearly better to have stable and regular employment. This also means staff loyalty. More and more people are getting in debt. We want people to have decent jobs, decent pay and regular work.”
During the debate Tory Leader of Council Cllr Duncan McGinty (East Polden) admitted that of 375 staff 234 were full time, 141 part and there were 8 relief employees on zero hours contracts. He said “Zero Hours contracts give freedom. This is especially the case for people with other jobs or childcare or students.” He described the motion as a ‘knee jerk reaction’.
Libs and Independents back Labour
The motion was supported by the 2 Lib Dems and 2 Independent Councillors, but the Conservative controlling group voted unanimously against the motion and consequently it was lost 25-14
. Mick Lerry said “ The Conservatives are not prepared to set an example whereby workers should not have such contracts imposed on them, there are are other contracts that can be used to make sure that employees are certain about the income that they will receive. Those workers on zero hours contracts have to take all the risks, rather than the risk being shared with the employer”.