Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/807/18472
Working on zero-hour contracts
By a Sports Direct worker
At the Sports Direct (SD) store I work in, 90% of us are on zero-hour contracts. Before Christmas they were hiring so many people, every day there was someone new. Over 180 people were working in the store. But now it's maybe 120.
Through January, where sales drop, the manager had a way of making people quit by giving them one shift in a week, maybe three or four hours, forcing them to look for another job but not actually sacking them.
So really people don't have a job and have to find another one. The manager's happy because sacking someone at SD is very hard, you have to have three warnings and three investigations but this just makes people go without sacking them.
One worker at my store, when she started there, put down her availability to work as four days. At the start she got full shifts. But now she gets one, and guess how long for - three hours! There's no point even coming to work for that. And other people, if the manager doesn't like them, she doesn't give them the work.
The 'blue-shirts' - manager and supervisors - get bonuses for every good stocktake and another bonus every four years. We don't. We get no bonuses and our holiday pay is based on the hours we've worked.
Breaks are another thing. We work five hours and 45 minutes so there's no breaks - but then they say 'stay for an hour', 'stay for another hour', but there's still no time for a break. In the morning when deliveries come at 5.30am, two people are needed to open up the shop, but then they will be in till 12 without a break.
And I don't think the supervisors know how long the breaks should be. One will say 20 minutes, another 30 minutes. And sometimes we'll be in from 5.45 or 6.15 to 12, and then off for a couple of hours, then in for four or five hours more.
We need 16 hours. Everywhere we go they want to see contracts with a minimum of 16 hours. I'm not saying I want to claim benefits, but that's what they ask for. Before Christmas I was doing 36 hours but now, it's maybe just 20 hours.
In The Socialist 16 April 2014:
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