An estimated 85,000 Scottish contractors could be employed on zero-hours contracts, according to the Scottish Trades Union Council (STUC).

Zero-hours contracts force employees to be available for work as and when required, with no guarantee that work will be available at all.

Grahame Smith, general secretary of STUC, described these kinds of contracts as a form of “bonded labour”.

Mr Smith said:

“Zero-hours contracts and insecure employment contracts are all that’s on offer for a significant amount of workers.

“They don’t have the choice of whether or not they have a zero-hours contract, that’s what they are given by the employer, and that’s unacceptable and it’s a form of bonded labour.

“They are in effect tied to that employer waiting at the whim of the employer to know whether or not they are going to be working, how many hours they are going to be working and of course what income they are going to derive from that work.

“And that’s just something which is totally unacceptable.”

A recent survey of 1,000 contractors commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) estimated that one million workers across the whole of the UK could be employed of zero-hours contracts.

STUC used these figures to estimate the number of Scotts in this position based on population demographics.

Photo by Nick Sarebi