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North Yorkshire County Council staff on zero hours contracts
THOUSANDS of people are currently on zero hours contracts at North Yorkshire County Council, new figures have shown.
The authority has confirmed that 3,590 staff are on the contracts, which do not guarantee any paid work for the workers, 2,923 of whom are school staff, including supply teachers.
Another 667 of the workers affected are non-school workers. About half are care staff, 50 are drivers for social care services, and 100 are catering and cleaning staff.
The figures were obtained by a Freedom of Information request, and were released with a comment from the authority which explained that the numbers of zero hour supply teachers and school staff has not changed for several years.
A council spokeswoman said: “The use of zero hours contracts in this way enables teams to staff up when they need to, as this cannot often be predicted. It is not cost-effective to carry a larger workforce per team in case a member of staff is off ill or a new client or service need suddenly occurs.
“Other services have smaller numbers of staff on zero hours contracts, such as libraries to cover staff absences, making sure libraries stay open, and the registrars service, so they can undertake weddings in response to requests if these are beyond the numbers the service has capacity for.”
She said staff on such contracts were free to work for other employers without any obligation from either the employer or employee. The spokeswoman said the workers on zero hours contracts “should only be used on an ad-hoc basis”, and “if the pattern of work becomes regular over a sustained period of time the individual should be moved to a standard contract”.
She said: “Efforts are made every six months to review the contracts and where staff on such contracts have not worked for six months either because they have not been needed or they have declined work offered to contact them they are contacted to see if they want to be removed from the list.
“Staff who leave including those who retire from NYCC care roles are usually asked if they want to be put on a relief contract so they can be called on and accept work if they wish.”
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