Call to end casual working at Corby Council

Corby Council's casual workers are being exploited, say local Conservatives
Corby Council's casual workers are being exploited, say local Conservatives

Conservative councillors at Corby have accused the authority of exploiting workers it employs on casual contracts.

There are 166 casual contracts on the borough council’s system offering people jobs at its leisure facilities, including Corby swimming pool and Lodge Park Sports Centre.

Casual staff are employed on the same terms and conditions as permanent employees, but have no contractual rights to sick pay.

The authority says unions representing council staff have never raised any issue over its use of casual contracts.

The Conservative group on Corby Council has written to the authority and the town’s MP Andy Sawford calling for the authority to end the use of casual contracts.

Conservative councillor Rob McKellar said: “The campaign to protect workers from exploitation under zero-hour contracts is a noble one and I fully support it.

“The campaign should however start right here in Corby. Nearly a quarter of the workforce at the Labour-controlled Corby Council are employed on contracts which give them no sick pay and no guarantee of work.

“Corby’s politicians need to look closer to home and give these hardworking council staff the sick pay and guarantee of hours they deserve. I hope that we can all work together to end the exploitation of workers at Corby Council.”

A spokesman for Corby Council said: “Unlike most zero-hours contracts, a casual contract allows the employee to take up or decline any offers of available work as and when they wish.

“There is no mutual obligation to provide or accept any offered work under the contract. Our casual employees can take up other job opportunities as they wish.”

Corby Council leader Tom Beattie said: “The authority takes its responsibilies for its workers seriously.

“I am not prepared to take lessons from a party which has introduced legislation compelling workers seeking employment tribunals to pay up to £1,200.”

Mr Sawford is campaigning for an end to zero-hours contracts requiring workers to be available for work even when there is none available.

He said the call by Conservative councillors to end casual contracts was foolish.

The MP said: “I think the Conservative group is taking an extreme position by saying no casual contracts.

“It’s foolish and I don’t think any sensible employer would support it.

“For me the clear distinction between zero-hours contracts and casual contracts is exploitation.

“Zero-hours contracts require people to be available for work even if there is no work for them and they can be in breach of their contract if they don’t turn up.”