Six-point motion to scrap zero-hours contracts for Hartlepool Council workers

Councillor David Riddle.

Councillor David Riddle.

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TWENTY-TWO Hartlepool council workers are employed on zero hours contracts.

The number has emerged as proposals were made to scrap the deals, with five of the workers also said to be employed on other contracts with the authority.

A motion was put forward to the full council, urging it to carry out a review of the arrangements it has with workers, as well as its contractors.

It set out how within six months a series of points should be adopted, including a right to request a minimum mount of work and compensation if shifts are cancelled at short notice.

Putting Hartlepool First member David Riddle, who was among those to sign the motion, said the six bullet point suggestions were taken verbatim from Labour leader Ed Miliband’s proposals to scrap the contracts.

The motion set out that the contracts “are incompatible with building a loyal, skilled and productive workforce,” with Councillor Riddle stating they made it hard for households to plan finances.

He added he had been employed on zero hours contracts himself and took on staff using the deals in his own work.

He said: “There might be 20-odd people in that situation, but that’s 20-odd too many.”

It was also backed by fellow Putting Hartlepool First members Geoff Lilley, Steve Gibbon and Kelly Atkinson and backed by Independent Jonathan Brash.

Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher proposed an amendment to refer the matter to the council’s monitoring officer for a robust appraisal to be carried out of the policy ahead of further discussions, with members agreeing.

The Labour member said discussions had been held with trade unions and some posts within the council needed an element of flexibility among the workforce.

Councillor Paul Thompson, independent, said: “This will be expensive, that’s why employers use them, because they know it will cost them more money.

“I know the Labour Party wants to abolish them nationally and I don’t always agree with Ed Miliband on occasions, but this is one such occasion and I agree with him.”