Santander staff receive ‘one hour a month’ contracts

Santander

Santander has advertised for “on-call” staff who are guaranteed just one hour of work per month, it has been revealed.

An advert on the company’s website seeks applicants who are available at short notice and able to travel to a variety of branches to cover full-time customer service staff, the Independent reports. The position, based in Bromley, south London, pays £17,666, pro rata, according to the listing.

The Financial Times reported that Santander currently employs 371 people on one-hour contracts.

The bank’s practice is the latest example of the kind of insecure work that has accounted for many of the new jobs added in the UK as the economy has recovered from the 2008-9 financial crisis.

The job post says: “This is an “On call” contract, offering flexible cover to local branches. You’ll be guaranteed and paid for at least one hour per month/12 hours per year. Additional hours will vary according to branch requirements and will most likely be a mix of pre-arranged and short-notice cover, so flexibility around hours and location is essential.”

The arrangement represents a variation on controversial zero-hours contracts which don’t guarantee any work at all.

A spokesperson for Santander told the FT the bank’s one-hour contracts offer “full employment rights with no obligation to accept additional hours or exclusivity”.

The spokesperson added that staff on these contracts “received the minimum training and updates required for our banking environment” and are treated in a “simple, personal and fair way”. People on the contracts on average work 386 hours a year, according to the bank, equivalent to almost 50 eight-hour days a year, the bank reportedly said. Santander has not yet responded to The Independent’s requests for comment.

The latest contract will add further fuel to the debate about the UK’s job market. Last month unemployment dropped to 4.7 per cent – equal to the lowest it has been since 1975 – but real average wages have remained stagnant for a decade and many of the newly created jobs are in insecure self-employment, gig economy jobs or zero-hours contracts.

The latest official figures show around 900,000 people are now on zero-hours contracts after rising by more than 100,000 in the last three months of 2016. Research from think tank the Resolution Foundation in December found that zero-hours workers earn £1,000 per year less than full-time employees doing the same job.

In December, the TUC estimated that a total of more than 3 million people are now in jobs which do not guarantee set hours, with many not entitled to benefits such as sick pay, holiday pay or a redundancy package.

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