The Scottish Sun reported one leafleter told a resident: “I don’t support the SNP – I’m just getting paid to hand this s***e out. It’s a zero-hours contract as well.”
Any use of zero hour contracts would expose the SNP to charges of hypocrisy, as it has condemned them as “exploitative” and demanded Holyrood gets powers to ban them.
Katy Loudon, the SNP candidate in Rutherglen, last month called them “draconian”.
The Scottish Sun said the SNP had refused to name the company it was using to distribute leaflets by hand, or if zero hour contracts were involved.
However on Sunday night, the SNP said it was taking action after the report.
A spokesman said: “The SNP will always stand up for fair work and fight to protect workers from exploitation.
“The distribution of this leaflet was outsourced by an intermediary to a reputable third-party business. We are now reviewing our distribution arrangements.”
The use of hired hands emerged just days after the SNP accused of “desperation” for asking its staff in London to help ahead of the October 5 vote.
Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “While the SNP’s desperate campaign collapses, it is disappointing but not shocking to see that they need to pay people to deliver leaflets filled with empty rhetoric.
“While the SNP rely on zero-hours contracts to make up for their lack of support, a Labour government would introduce a new deal for working people – ending exploitative contracts.”
The Herald reported in July that SNP activists had complained of “embarrassment” at being asked to promote the party given its financial problems, including a police probe, and lack of progress on independence. One councillor admitted they could not “in good conscience” ask people to vote for the SNP at the present time.
The SNP is seen as the underdog in the by-election, which was triggered by former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier being thrown out of parliament by local voters in a recall petition.
Ms Ferrier, who had a majority of 5,230 over Labour in 2019, broke Covid lockdown rules.
The SNP and Labour both see the by-election as a key test of popularity ahead of the general election.
The SNP is also facing questions over whether all its leaflets comply with Electoral Commission guidance which says they must include the promoter, printer and beneficiary.
Some leaflets state they are promoted by the SNP and name the printer, but fail to say they are being promoted “on behalf of Katy Loudon”.
The apparent error coincides with the SNP losing chief executive Peter Murrell, who had 20 years of election experience, and replacing him with former journalist Murray Foote.
An SNP spokesman told the Sun the leaflets were within the rules.