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Sports Direct in move away from zero hours contracts for casual staff

06 September 2016

Following numerous reports in the national press about the issues within the Sports Direct Shirebrook warehouse, it has announced an alternative to zero hours contracts.

It is proposing to offer its directly employed casual retail staff at least 12 guaranteed hours a week.

However, the BBC has reported that "almost all staff" at the warehouse are agency workers and will therefore not be eligible for the new arrangement.

With more than 4,000 agency workers at the warehouse, the offer will apply to just 400 of those on site who have been employed on permanent contracts.

Investigations by the both the Guardian newspaper and the BBC have revealed a number of problems.

Replying to accusations that it had paid workers less than the legal minimum wage, the company said this was "unacceptable but unintentional", according to the BBC.

Sports Direct has also said it will ask its agencies to suspend the system where staff would be given "a strike" for perceived misdemeanours, such as spending too long in the toilet, taking sick days or talking too much during working hours.

Employees with six strikes would be automatically dismissed, deemed to have contributed to a "hierarchical and potential oppressive model".

The company has also said it will introduce improvements such as employing a full-time nurse at the warehouse, provide training for supervisors to avoid any "culture of fear" issues, create a confidential sexual harassment reporting system and consider transferring 10 agency a month to Sports Direct.

Following its initial review of the Shirebrook facility, the company has commissioned a further report to monitor progress on working practice improvements.

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