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Oct 27th, 2014

Zero hours: Sports Direct is upping its game

By Amy Lockwood

Sports Direct is upping its game. They were one of the worst abusers of zero hours contracts. But pressure from 38 Degrees members has forced the retail giant to make changes so that its 20,000 zero hours staff will get the basic rights they deserve.

Thousands of us got behind 38 Degrees member Zahera – an ex-employee of Sports Direct – to take them to court over their abuse of the controversial contracts. It was a real David vs Goliath battle. But the case was so strong it didn’t even need to go before a judge.

On Friday, to avoid standing in the dock, Sports Direct signed an out of court settlement. The team of lawyers paid for by 38 Degrees members has made sure that the retail giant is now legally bound to make changes.

Zahera was told she wasn’t entitled to paid holidays or sick pay. Now, Sports Direct has to tell all of its zero hours staff that they have full holiday and sick pay rights. And they have to be totally transparent about zero hours contracts – spelling out what it means in all contracts and job ads.

The news today is only one employer changing their policies. But hopefully, this case will lift the bar for every other employer.

We’ve campaigned together on zero hours contracts for over a year now. 38 Degrees members demanded a government consultation – and won. 36,000 of us submitted responses demanding that employers be banned from forcing zero hours workers to not take other jobs. And we won. Changing the law will impact hundreds of thousands of zero hours employees.

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