Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/781/17477
'Success' for owners - zero for workers
With £200 million profit, a company valued at almost £4 billion, and 90% of staff on zero-hour contracts, many in Britain's ruling class see Sports Direct as a modern success story. But for the almost 20,000 workers who live life on a knife edge, it's not so rosy.
Following the 'successful' stock market flotation shareholders were invited to the company's HQ in Shirebrook, Mansfield, and were greeted with champagne and a round of back slapping as record profits were recorded.
Meanwhile at a distribution centre in the town, workers on zero-hour contracts were being paid the minimum wage and subjected to terrible working conditions.
As a 'casual' worker they are denied paid holiday, sick pay and access to company perks or bonuses. These contracts are often promoted as providing a flexible labour market, something that Labour and the Lib Dems have been calling for. But these are just another way for the capitalist class to control and further exploit the working class.
Life on a zero-hour contract is not easy. Sometimes not knowing when or even where you are going to work, get paid or if you will even have the money to pay bills next week, can have a serious effect on the lives of the company's largely young workforce.
This makes it difficult to plan ahead, to save money or pursue education or hobbies - if you are waiting by the phone, waiting for work, it's harder to get things done!
A zero-hour contract worker
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In The Socialist 25 September 2013:
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