Zero hours staff take on Sports Direct over PS30m in unpaid bonuses


Workers organise legal challenge over pay exclusion

THREE hundred employees on zero hour contracts have challenged retailer Sports Direct over millions of pounds in lost bonuses.

The staff were excluded from a pay scheme allocated to “permanent” workers in 2013. Now, lawyers acting on their behalf have challenged the Sports Direct legal team with average claims of PS36,000 each for unpaid bonuses.

Those making the claims all have at least five and half years of continuous employment with the company.

Legal firm Leigh Day, with support from workers rights group Pay Justice, have requested that the workers are not penalised or dismissed for making the claims.

If there is no agreement on the claims then the cases will go to court, which would create a significant precedent for the rights of zero hour contracted workers.

Sports Direct, owned by billionaire Mike Ashley, has been criticised for its widespread use of short-term contracts.

‘Zero hours’ contracts mean that staff have no guarantee of regular hours or employment security.

A previous legal case against Sports Direct resulted in the need for greater transparency in zero hour contract advertising, including making it clear that the contracts do not guarantee work, sick pay or holiday pay.

Commenting at the time Leigh Day barrister Elizabeth George said: “[Workers] have the right to be treated fairly and with respect. They have the right to take holidays and to be paid when they take them. They have the right to statutory sick pay. They have a right to request guaranteed hours.”

The staff now await a response from Sports Direct.

Image courtesy of Stuart JM