THIS week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published its latest report on the use of zero hours contracts in the UK economy.

The ONS analysis shows that a record 1.1 million workers are employed on these exploitative and precarious contracts. This represents a ten fold increase since 2004. 

Across the four nations of the UK Scotland is the zero hours contracts hotspot with 105,000 Scottish workers, 3.9% of those in work, having no set hours, meaning they are often unaware of how many shifts they will work each week, what they will be paid and how they will plan and manage caring and family responsibilities.

The figures for the rest of the UK show Northern Ireland with 1.3% on a zero hours contract, in Wales 2.8% and England 3.5%. 

READ MORE: Brexit failure has left UK as ‘sick man of Europe’

Young people are disproportionately impacted by zero hours contracts with 293,000 over 16’s working whilst in full time education, being employed on precarious work contracts. 

The ONS DATA also shows that women workers and workers born outside of the UK are more likely to be on a zero hours contract. 

Sectors such as leisure and the service sector, health and social care and elementary occupations such as labouring and processing are where most zero hours contracts are found. 

Zero Hours Justice is a campaigning organisation that seeks to end the use of exploitative zero hours contracts and promote employers who do the right thing by their workers. Employers who do not use these contracts can sign up to the free Zero Hours Justice accreditation scheme on the ZHJ website.

Zero hours contracts are a stain on our economy. They cause anxiety and fear amongst workers leaving them financially insecure and unable to plan their lives with any certainy. They are a key factor in the recruitment crisis across the social care, hospitality and other sectors. 

This shameful record has to be addressed by UK and Scottish ministers, councils and public bodies who should be using all the powers at their disposal to show leadership and take action to end the zero hours misery for over 100,000 Scottish workers.

You can find more about the campaign and the free accreditation scheme HERE