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Legal action against Sports Direct for zero-hours contracts

Retailer Sports Direct is facing legal action from a former worker for the use of zero-hours contracts.

Zahera Gabriel-Abraham it taking the firm to an employment tribunal claiming the fact her contract prevented her doing other work meant she should have got the same benefits as full-time workers, including sick and holiday pay.

Sports Direct, owned by Newcastle United chairman Mike Ashley, has come under fire recently for the use of zero-hours contracts.

The contracts, which put staff on contracts with no guaranteed hours, have also been used by local authorities throughout the country.

It is claimed up to 1m workers in the UK could be on zero-hours contracts.

Elizabeth George a barrister in the employment team of Leigh Day, who is acting for Ms Gabriel-Abraham, said: “We are not arguing that employers cannot have genuine flexible contracts, but the contract under which Ms Gabriel-Abraham worked, and which all 20,000 part-time employees appear to be working, has no flexibility at all for those people who sign them.

“There was no practical difference between the obligations put on my client by the company and those placed on full-time staff.

“Casual workers traditionally supplement an employer’s salaried staff, to be called upon when cover is needed or demand is high.

“In return for not having the security of knowing when you might work you have the benefit of being able to choose when you work.

“Without that choice you are not a casual worker you are just a worker with no job security.

“The “casual” part-time employees in this case are employees in the conventional sense and denying them their paid holidays, sick pay and bonuses is unlawful.”

Sports Direct declined to comment.

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