Gloucester Cathedral offers Welby's 'evil' contracts

Justin Welby
Image caption Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said zero-hours jobs were the "reincarnation of an ancient evil"

A cathedral is advertising zero-hours jobs, days after the Archbishop of Canterbury called the contracts "the reincarnation of an ancient evil".

Jobs being offered on a "flexible basis" at Gloucester Cathedral include a porter and catering assistants.

Archbishop Justin Welby made his comments to the Trades Union Congress.

A cathedral spokesman said it used zero-hours contracts in "limited cases to carry out occasional tasks", such as for events.

Image copyright Gloucester Cathedral

"We take our responsibilities as an employer seriously and are committed to paying the living wage.

"Any person employed on a zero-hours contract at Gloucester Cathedral is entitled to statutory employment rights," he said.

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Archbishop Welby received a standing ovation at the Trades Union Congress in Manchester on 12 September when he attacked the benefits system, said the living wage should be higher and criticised firms such as Amazon for paying "almost nothing" in taxes.

He also hit out at the so-called gig economy and zero-hours contracts, saying they were "nothing new", and adding: "It is the reincarnation of an ancient evil."

Talking about "vast companies like Amazon and other online traders", the archbishop said the new industries "can get away with paying almost nothing in tax, there is something wrong with the tax system.

"They don't pay a real living wage, so the taxpayer must support their workers with benefits.

"And having leeched off the taxpayer once they don't pay for our defence, for security, for stability, for justice, wealth, equality, education."

Amazon said in a statement: "We pay all taxes required in the UK and every country where we operate."

A zero hours contract is one where the employer does not have to offer work and the employee has no obligation to work when asked.

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