IT is heartening to see that the Scottish Government has suggested that it could bar companies from lucrative public procurement contracts if they have staff employed on zero-hours contracts ("5000 post staff have contracts with zero hours", The Herald August 22).

Unions have also railed against staff being uncertain of when they will be offered work, and then being paid less than the staff they work beside. Perhaps we can now expect the Scottish Government to look closely at the decision taken by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities along with the Educational Institute of Scotland to slash the pay of daily supply teachers who are on zero-hour contracts.

Supply teachers are the perfect example of the benefits to both sides when flexibility allows for fluctua­tions in staffing due to continuing professional development (CPD) or sickness. Young teachers look at supply teaching as a way of building experience and their CV. But cuts to the rate of pay now mean young teachers trying to start their adult lives are restricted in earnings and the ability to secure mortgages. Business Secretary Vince Cable has ruled out banning these iniquitous contracts. I suggest that the first reform is that zero-hours staff never work at a pay rate any less than that being paid to the staff they work beside or replace.

Donald Macdonald,

1 Clair Road, Bishopbriggs.