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UK 'zero hours' contracts prompt legal action


economy

UK 'zero hours' contracts prompt legal action

London is famous for its shopping, but tourists rarely get to see behind the shop front.

UK retail giant Sports Direct is now in hot water after it was revealed that it employs 90 percent of staff on contracts which do not guarantee any number of working hours at all.

These so-called “zero hours” contracts mean staff must be available when called upon, but excludes them from sick pay or holidays.

One “zero hours” employee at Cineworld told euronews: “They put the schedule up on a wall for the next couple of weeks. But you might go in and find it has maybe changed, so you could go in on a Tuesday and find that you have been put in to work a shift on Friday that originally wasn’t there. Or you might come in for a shift and get there and then find that they wanted you to go home.

“Because you are still technically employed, you can’t apply for any unemployment benefit or anything like that.”

A former Sports Direct employee is taking the company to court after suffering panic attacks over fears of financial instability as a result of the contract. If successful, the case could set a legal precedent for all workers under the practice.

Politicians and unions have expressed concern at the rise in the number of people on the scheme, which has more than doubled since 2004. Around 200,000 British shop floor workers operate on such contracts.

McDonalds and Buckingham Palace have also been revealed as “zero hours” employers.

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