Up to 300 Doncaster council staff on zero hour deals

Doncaster Borough Council Local Elections Team. Pictured is Jo Miller (right) Council Chief Exec and Elections Returning Officer with, from left, Lauren Haslehurst (Senior Press & PR Officer), Rebecca Dowson (Elections Assistant),Tony Machin (Electoral  Services Manager) and Brendan Martin (Head of Democratic Services).
Doncaster Borough Council Local Elections Team. Pictured is Jo Miller (right) Council Chief Exec and Elections Returning Officer with, from left, Lauren Haslehurst (Senior Press & PR Officer), Rebecca Dowson (Elections Assistant),Tony Machin (Electoral Services Manager) and Brendan Martin (Head of Democratic Services).
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Up to 300 of Doncaster Council’s council staff have been recruited with zero hour contracts, says the authority’s boss.

The authority’s chief executive Jo Miller released the figures after national newspaper reports suggested almost 3,000 staff were on the contracts.

Ms Miller said the original the originally reported figure of 2,759 covered all relief posts on the council’s system including schools, where staff can include supply teachers.

But she said the vast majority of those contracts were for one-off payments.

An example was over 400 staff who worked for one day on election duties who were held for recording purposes.

Examples also inculded contracted employees who have a relief role set up in additional to their contract, which Ms Miller believes some authorities may not have included in their figures.

She said: “The council in fact employs a maximum of 300 relief staff on zero hour contracts. This figure excludes those that have not worked for council for the last six months and represents just 4.8 per cent of the council’s 6,203 employees, excluding schools.”

She said no comparisons had been made to see whether the figure had increased in recent years but she expects it has remained ‘fairly static’.

She added: “As an employer, this group of workers are engaged on an ad hoc basis to help out during staff shortages or at busy times of the year, or when an emergency arises, and that they may or may not be available when we need them, in the same way as when people apply for these roles they are appointed on that basis knowing that the work is on an as and when basis.

“These staff are not obliged to accept the offer of work and this flexibility is beneficial to those with commitments.”

South Yorkshire has seen protests against zero hour contacts. Iain Dalton, Yorkshire organiser of Youth Fight for Jobs, said: “We are fighting to win real contracts with guaranteed hours.”