THE SNP called yesterday for the full devolution of workers’ rights and employment law to Holyrood after a damning report into bosses’ “cruel” practices was published.
Low incomes and poor working conditions have increased the number of cases seen by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) by 12 per cent in the last four years, according to its findings.
The most common cases involved withheld wages, zero-hours contracts, unfair dismissals, bullying, exploitation, racism and discrimination.
“Around half of Scots who are in poverty are actually in work,” said CAS spokesman Rob Gowans.
“The minimum wage is not in fact keeping up with inflation, and many of the benefits that are meant to supplement low wages are being cut.
“With wages falling in real terms, families are becoming trapped in poverty.”
New fees brought in by the Tory-Liberal government for employment tribunals in 2013 also mean that low-paid workers struggle, or find it impossible, to afford legal assistance to fight unfair treatment by bosses who take advantage of their desperate situations.
“Too many rogue employers are using this environment to exploit their workers, and deny them basic rights,” said Mr Gowans.
“The growth in zero-hours contracts has become a huge problem, which leaves thousands of Scots in huge financial uncertainty. And meanwhile it is becoming harder than ever to challenge unfair treatment.”
Soon after the Work, Wages and Wellbeing report was revealed, the SNP pointed the finger at the Tory Party for preventing working-class Scots from accessing fair justice.
SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said that the Scotland Bill would devolve powers over employment tribunals but that it “does not go far enough.”
She called for “full powers over employment policy,” including the minimum wage.
“Despite this evidence, we have a callous Tory government that is intent on continuing austerity, cutting social security and weakening employment law,” she said.
“It has already restricted access to justice by introducing fees for employment tribunals and they are legislating to further restrict the ability of trade unions to stand up for workers’ rights.
“However, the SNP Scottish government is working to promote workers’ rights with trade unions.”