Pay And Conditions Crisis Hitting Workers

21 August 2015, 07:09 | Updated: 21 August 2015, 07:10

There is a growing "crisis'' of low pay and poor conditions for Scotland's workforce, according to a charity.


Citizens Advice Scotland said the number of employment cases it has seen has risen by 12% in the last four years and is now at its highest level.

It revealed the most common issues involved low pay, withheld wages and unfair dismissal as well as bullying and discrimination.

Staff across its 61 sites reported they were increasingly advising clients who are in work but struggling to pay for essentials

The details were contained in a report submitted to Holyrood's Economy Committee as MSPs explore how employment and job quality has changed since the 2008 recession.

Delivering the report to the Scottish Parliament, the charity's spokesman Rob Gowans said it has been publishing evidence for some time showing workplace problems are increasing in Scotland.

"What our report shows is the collected evidence of all the work-related cases that people have brought to the Scottish CAB (Citizen Advice Bureaux) service over the last few years. While we don't give away the identities of any of our clients, our evidence shows real-life experience. There is a growing crisis of low pay and poor conditions in Scotland,'' he said.

"Around half of Scots who are in poverty are actually working. This reflects the fact that 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, less secure terms and working hours, and with basic employment rights becoming harder to enforce.''

Mr Gowans said the second part of the problem was that ``too many rogue employers'' were ``exploiting'' workers under this environment.

"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,'' he added.