Better Than Zero developing app on exploitative employers

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Better than Zero Cartoon

Credit: Sheila Scott

Hannah-May Todd
Writer

Better Than Zero (BtZ), a Scottish trade unionist group, is hoping to expand its reach by developing an app.

The app will allow industry staff and customers to quickly identify whether a company pays the living wage and what the working conditions are like. This will allow workers to check the conditions of a company before employment and will encourage customers to boycott companies that do not adhere to these conditions.

A spokesperson for the group said: “The Better than Zero app will allow users to see at a glance which employers are exploiting their workers with zero-hours contracts, no breaks and/or docking of tips. It will also allow customers and potential staff to see which companies treat their staff with respect paying them the living wage, 100% of tips and a minimum hour contract.

“It will help us put financial pressure on those large hospitality firms like Lynnet Leisure who still profit from staff tips. We believe it will also incentivise more companies to pay the living wage and abolish zero-hours contracts.”

The app will be released this March.

The group recently met with the HR Director of G1 Group Paul Bailey to discuss and agree on improvements to working conditions for G1 Staff. A a result of the meeting, staff will no longer be required to pay for training, no members of staff should be on a zero-hour contract and no staff member should be docked for small instances of lateness.

BtZ have raised many issues with the G1 Group, most notably their zero hour contracts and perceived exploitation of their employees.

BtZ organiser Bryan Simpson told online magazine Common Space: “As the biggest hospitality firm in Scotland, G1’s change of heart sets an important precedent within an industry which relies on the exploitation of bar workers, waiting staff, cooks and cleaners. Provided the changes are fully implemented, we can use G1 as a positive employer with which to put pressure on other employers who refuse to follow suit.”

BtZ have agreed to end their action against the G1 Group for three months whilst they implement the agreed upon changes to conditions.

Better than Zero has branches across Scotland and work with other trade unionist groups to lobby and protest against big companies such as Sports Direct. They celebrated a win in September 2016 when Sports Direct dropped zero-hour contracts.

Btz have fought against zero hour contracts since 2014.