POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn Could Boycott Glastonbury If It Keeps Zero Hours Contracts

Labour leader wants to raise the issue 'right now'.

05/07/2017 13:38 BST | Updated 05/07/2017 16:08 BST
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Jeremy Corbyn is open to boycotting Glastonbury if fails to abolish zero hours contracts or exploits migrant workers, senior party sources have suggested.

The Labour leader received a rousing reception when he addressed the pop festival last month, with many in the crowd chanting his name.

But it emerged since that hundreds of Eastern European migrants were hired on zero hours contracts to pick up litter, and were fired after just two days.

Speaking after Prime Minister’s Questions, a senior Labour source repeatedly refused to rule out a boycott by Corbyn when the festival resumes in 2019.

“Who knows what’s going to happen in Glastonbury in coming years? We are completely opposed to those forms of contract - everywhere.

“Those contracts should not be taking place, they should not be used.  He’s happy to raise it [as an issue] right now. This kind of employment contract and these kind of conditions are unacceptable.”

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Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis and Jeremy Corbyn on stage.

Festival organisers were accused of taking advantage of 700 people who were signed up as litter pickers expecting two weeks of paid work on the huge clean-up operation that follows the end of the event.

Thanks to lower than expected rubbish, three quarters of the workers were left stranded and out of pocket in the Somerset countryside.

The Independent revealed last week that workers had travelled to Somerset from countries including Czech Republic, Spain, Poland and Latvia after being handed zero hours contracts to help with the large-scale clean-up operation on Worthy Farm.

Video footage obtained by the website revealed the sacked workers pleading to be fed before they left the campsite. In the video, a man understood to be a litter-picking supervisor tells the migrant staff they should be grateful for the two days’ work.

One video shows a supervisor telling a worker: “Everyone is on a zero hours contract. We have no commitment to feed these people, they’re on paid jobs, their job is over.”

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Festival goers praise Corbyn.

The Labour leader had made plain his own views and those of his party when he appeared on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury, declaring young people did not have to “accept low wages and insecurity as just part of life”.

Asked if Corbyn would boycott the event in future, the senior Labour source said: “Jeremy and the Labour party have taken a very strong stand against the use of zero hours contracts and the exploitation of migrant and other workers and the spread of all manner of insecure agency working.

“We take that view wherever it happens.

“How Glastonbury runs its event and manages its finances is entirely a matter for them. In terms of employment contracts, those contracts should not be used.”

Labour’s 2017 general election manifesto pledge to abolish all zero hours contracts.

Glastonbury festival organisers have been contacted for comment.