The SNP said it is “reviewing” a deal for paid leaflet distributors ahead of a crucial by-election amid claims the company was using zero-hours contracts.
The Scottish Sun revealed on Sunday how the Nats, whose support has fallen, had hired leaflets to hand out election leaflets in Rutherglen and Hamilton West – sparking ridicule.
The party which has criticized such “exploitative” contracts was rocked by claims that a leaflet told a local resident: “I don’t support the SNP – I’m just paid to hand out this crap.”
“It’s also a zero-hours contract.”
But the SNP had refused to comment on claims that the unnamed club had used zero-hours contracts – which the Nats said could be exploitative.
But on Sunday evening, a party spokesman said in a new statement that a review was now underway.
They said: “The SNP will always stand up for fair work and fight to protect workers from exploitation.”
“The distribution of this brochure was contracted out by an intermediary to a reputable third-party company.
“We are now reviewing our distribution agreements.”
This comes after we told how the Nats admitted that “individual distributors” were paid a “day rate” but did not comment on whether the workers were on zero-hour contracts or name the company the party had discontinued.
A spokesman said: “Activists have worked tirelessly across the constituency to deliver candidate Katy Loudon’s bold plan to put more money in people’s pockets.”
“The distribution of this brochure was contracted out to a reputable third party company.
“No one from this company acknowledges the reported conversation and denies that it ever occurred.”
It also appears that the leaflets may be violating strict election rules by failing to contain certain information required by law.
The SNP is desperate to hold on to the seat Margaret Ferrier won for them in 2019 – before she was thrown out by her voters following her conviction for breaching Covid rules.
However, the party has slumped in the polls over the past year and the by-election is widely seen as a neck-and-neck race with Labor, whose candidate Michael Shanks is bookmakers’ favorite to take the seat.
The paid leaflets emerged just days after the SNP accused Labor of “desperation” for asking for staff from London to help with the post-election effort.
Scottish Labor had previously insisted it was not following its rivals’ tactics.
Deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “As the SNP’s desperate election campaign fails, it is disappointing but not shocking to see they have to pay people to hand out leaflets full of empty rhetoric.”
“While the SNP is pushing zero-hours contracts to make up for its lack of support, a Labor government would introduce a new deal for working people – ending exploitative contracts.”
The SNP website says: “Far too often, zero-hours contracts are used not to provide flexibility but to exploit workers.
“This may mean that employees are denied regular or sufficient working hours or are penalized for not being available to work.”
The Nats also faced questions about the election pamphlets themselves.
The Electoral Commission’s guidelines state that printed campaign material must contain a “legal notice” with three elements: the printer, the organizer and the person to whom the leaflet is being advertised.
However, the SNP by-election leaflet does not specify who the leaflet is being advertised for.
An SNP spokesman insisted its masthead complied with the rules.
There is no indication that the printers did anything wrong.
Until earlier this year, the Nats were led by ex-boss Peter Murrell, the husband of former leader Nicola Sturgeon.
He resigned in March and both were later questioned by Police Scotland detectives as part of their long-running fraud investigation into the SNP finances.
A source claimed: “All of this underlines that SNP headquarters is no longer the well-oiled machine it once was.”
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