Whilst glancing through the situations vacant in the Shetland Times of 22 December 2017, I noticed that an entry from Mareel for drinks and beverages staff on zero hours contracts was advertised.
My question is this: Is it appropriate for a public facility whose budget is largely funded by public money, to offer such egregious contracts?
It may just be acceptable if the job is an additional one to top up that person's money, but in the case that the job represents the whole revenue stream for a person, then these contracts are morally indefensible.
Shetland Arts general manager Graeme Howell responded:
"Zero hours contracts in themselves are not bad things; they can work for both the benefit of the staff and organisation, as long as they are used appropriately and fairly.
In 2014 all of SADA's Front of House and Café staff were on zero hours contracts and we set ourselves the goal of having 70 per cent of those teams contracted and the remaining working flexibly.
This means that we are able to run efficiently and effectively whilst being able to staff up for events and busy periods, as well as cover holidays.
The majority of staff that are employed in this manner are students who return to work during the holidays, or staff for whom this is a second source of income who both require the flexibility that this arrangement offers.
Public funding only accounts for 37 per cent of our total income (around 10 per cent comes from Creative Scotland and a further 27 per cent from the Shetland Charitable Trust). For more information on how we generate and spend money please see our 2016/17 Annual Summary at this link."