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Sports Direct – Rewards for the Managers, Nothing for shop floor slaves

Sports Direct – Rewards for the Managers, Nothing for shop floor slaves

Matt Dobson, Youth Fight for Jobs Scotland

Are you sick of your boss and being treated like an exploited slave? The work we do is soul destroying enough already without the tricks and hassle the managers and bosses cause every day of the week. Are we paid enough to put up with? Being called in at a moment’s notice for a shift one week and then not having enough hours to pay the bills the next? These bosses make millions in profits out of us being flexible while we live at their beck and call and at the mercy of pay day loan companies.

The zero hour contract is a common trick used to exploit millions of young workers in retail and service industries. Big chains like Tesco and B&Q like to claim they don’t engage in this practice but in reality they offer minimum guarantee of hour “5,6,7 hour” contracts to many employees who have to hope they are granted more hours in a week to make a living.

Sports Direct – Rewards for the Managers, Nothing for shop floor slaves

Sports Direct got themselves in the press as a “model employer” recently for paying bonus shares to “full time staff”. However the only staff to benefit from this will be those who have worked for the company full time from 2009. Most of these workers are Managers. 20,000 shop floor workers, 90% of Sports Direct staff are on zero hour contracts and will receive nothing. They, rather than enjoying security and bonuses, have no rights to holiday and sick pay and do not know how many hours they will work each week. Even those entitled to the bonuses according to the Unite trade union (who support Youth Fight for Jobs nationally) can be excluded “based on sales performance” by senior managers. Sports Direct is owned by Newcastle United owner and billionaire tycoon Mike Ashley who forces the players to advertise notorious payday lender Wonga on their shirts.

The “Zero Hour Contract” suits all who benefit from this rotten profit driven system of capitalism. Bosses and managers have a workforce at their mercy that they can hire and drop at will at the minimum cost. The politicians get to claim lower unemployment figures when in reality millions are underemployed. The encroachment of more of the workforce on “flexible contracts” can easily be used to undermine terms and conditions of permanent staff.

If the privatisation of Royal Mail is successful, the hard won rights of a workforce could be dismantled to be ‘competitive’, with delivery firms like TNT who use zero hour contracts. The CWU (Communication Workers Union - who also support Youth Fight for Jobs nationally) organise Royal Mail staff, they already point to the example of privatised British Telecom, BT, into which the CWU is running an investigative campaign into staff suicides in BT call centres.

The Youth Fight for Jobs and ‘Are you Sick of your Boss?’ campaigns say ‘enough is enough’:

  • No to zero hour contracts and insecure employment. No more uncertainty and insecurity dressed up as ‘flexibility’!


  • Give us proper contracts, guaranteed hours and full employment rights


  • Decent tea and lunch breaks and no being ‘clocked off’ when we take one. It’s not possible to work long shifts without some time to breathe. We shouldn’t be penalised for it


  • Pay us enough to live - Companies which make the bosses millions are paying us (who make them all that money) pennies. We want a living wage which is enough to afford the basics in life. Right now, many of us have to top up our wages with tax credits and benefits. We shouldn’t have to. A living wage of £10 an hour is not too much to ask


  • Stop the bosses ‘fire at will’ attitude, backed up by the government. Making it easier to sack us will increase unemployment – not reduce it!


  • We won’t be used as cheap or free labour on apprenticeships, internships and work-for benefits schemes. A day’s work is a day’s work and it deserves a decent day’s pay


  • We have the right to get organised at work - Trade unions are there to help give workers protection and fight to improve our conditions. In this country there is a legal right to join a trade union. Despite this, workers who try to get organised are sometimes penalised by their bosses. We say the right to organise is fundamental – full trade union rights now!


  • Scrap the anti-trade union laws - We have a right to try and improve our conditions and stop the bosses that ‘make us sick!’ It’s up to us to democratically decide how we do this. If we want to go on strike or take action then that’s up to us, the courts should not stop us


  • Build democratic campaigning trade unions - We want trade unions that will fight our corner. That means representing us in the workplace, defending us if we’re under attack and, crucially, helping us use our collective strength as workers to fight back. All workers, young and old, deserve democratic trade unions with fighting leaders!


  • No to benefit cuts – Attacks like this affect all of us, not just the unemployed. For a start thousands of low paid workers rely on benefits. If unemployment benefits are lowered it means the bosses have even less incentive to pay a decent wage. Don’t let their lies divide us!

Protest outside zero-hour contract Sports Direct

Saturday 3rd August
Oxford Street
Oxford Street Plaza, 116-128 Oxford Street, W1D 1LT, London

Saturday 3rd August
Argyle Street

Monday 5th August
Leeds (Headrow Shopping Centre)

Friday 9th August
Sports Direct HQ
Shirebrook, North Derbyshire
Protest down the road at Shirebrook Market Place

We’re also campaging  against zero-hour contracts in Plymouth this Saturday (3rd August) from 12pm at Place de Brest (Plaza by Barclays Bank).

email to get your protest advertised

For more info contact Youth Fight for Jobs on 02085587947
catch us on facebook ‘Youth Fight for Jobs’
follow us on twitter @youthfight4jobs #soyb
OR text JOIN, plus your name & postcode to 07749379010