LABOUR will push forward plans to end the use of zero-hours contracts in public sector contracts under any circumstances in a proposed tightening of fair work rules.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has set out a ‘better business Scotland’ scheme which he said will form part of proposals to strengthen the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19.

As part of Labour’s national recovery plan for jobs, set to be unveiled this week, the party has demanded a guarantee that no publicly procured contract uses zero-hours based labour under any circumstances.

The party has pointed to the current ‘fair work first’ rules over public procurement, which it says only preclude the ‘inappropriate’ use of zero-hours contracts – leaving the door open to zero-hours being used by companies benefiting from public procurement.

Scottish Labour has pledged it would prevent any public sector procurement work going to companies that use zero-hours contracts.

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A part of the vision to help promote good work principles, Scottish Labour will propose a ‘better business Scotland’ certification scheme.

The system would provide recognition to those who do not use zero hours contracts, pay the Scottish Living Wage and produce a clear carbon reduction plan or commit to net zero.

Mr Sarwar has said that Scottish Labour is committed to putting fairness and good work values at the heart of Scotland’s economic recovery.

He said: “Alongside the tragic death toll that this pandemic has caused we have taken an economic hit harder and deeper than the banking crisis.

“We need to put a jobs recovery at the heart of our plan for a national recovery from the pandemic.

“But we need to make sure that our economic recovery is based on fairness and good work – we cannot go back to the inequalities and the broken economic model pre-Covid.”

Mr Sarwar added: “We should bring an end to the use of zero-hours contracts by companies that benefit from public funds and establish a ‘better business Scotland’ certification scheme to promote good work principles.

“Scotland deserves better than the inequalities of the past. Scottish Labour will fight for an economic recovery with fairness at its heart.”