Youth Fight for Jobs protest zero-hour contract Sports Direct in London, Glasgow & Leeds
Youth Fight for Jobs hold protests at zero-hour contract Sports Direct in London & Glasgow
'Sports Direct hear us say, zero-hours - no way!'
Helen Pattison, London Youth Fight for Jobs
Fifty protesters gathered outside the Oxford Street branch of Sports Direct in central London on Saturday 3 August to demand an end to zero-hour contracts.
Sports Direct employs 90% of its workers on zero-hour contracts.
Young people who worked on similar contracts took the megaphone to relay their experiences of the contracts which offer no guarantee of work or pay. Many employers also get away with not paying holiday or sick pay to zero-hour staff.
We heard how the contracts were used to oust staff trying to legally organise in trade unions and those who stood up to demand decent conditions at work.
The protest occupied the shop for a brief time to try and speak to the staff but also put pressure on the shop to give its staff decent contracts.
Ultimately now it is the role of the trade unions to organise these staff and carry on the fight for decent contracts and an end to zero-hour.
Since the protest, a poll by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has shown that over one million workers are on zero-hour terms, rather than the Office for National statistics (ONS) estimate of 250,000.
The CIPD poll shows that the scale of zero-hour job insecurity goes much wider, but also shows the potential of trade unions to organise workers against their zero-hour contract misery.
Boots have told their staff employed on zero-hour contracts with no guaranteed hours that they may have to work abroad.
In Scotland, Youth Fight for Jobs supporters organised a protest outside Sports Direct on Argyle Street in Glasgow. Matt Dobson said from the protest
“we got a fantastic response from shoppers and staff who came out to sign our petition against zero-hour contracts. Many young workers passing by from other shops also took our leaflets to hand out to their workmates. Sports Direct managers put plenty of security on the store entrance after they heard Youth Fight for Jobs in London had entered the store and refused to let us speak to staff. Retail workers of all ages were interested in joining a trade union and we gave out USDAW and Unite trade union material. We will be following this up with action in Dundee on August 10th and Paisley and Edinburgh later in the month.”
Iain Dalton, Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs organiser was on a protest against Sports Direct this Monday (5th August) in Leeds, he said
"We were inundated by people passing by wanting to support us, sign our petition and take leaflets. I spent almost the entire protest doing interviews with the local press, both newspapers and radio stations. Many people passing by had seen Youth Fight for Jobs activist Helen Pattison on Sky Newsm (debating zero-hour contract enthusiast and former Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins) earlier that day and were keen to talk about how we could secure decent jobs with a living wage. Several people wanted to get involved with the campaign. The previous day we had taken the same petition to Leeds Pride and had a similarly warm response."