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Sports Direct dismisses Ed Miliband's zero-hours attack

Sports Direct has dismissed criticism by Labour leader Ed Miliband of its use of zero-hours contracts.

Speaking to the West Midlands Labour Party conference in Coventry, Miliband attacked what he called “a zero-zero economy - of zero-hours contracts and zero tax for those at the top”, he added that Sports Direct is a “terrible place to work”.

The retailer said it was reviewing “core” employment procedures, but a spokesman added: “With enemies like these, who needs friends?”.

Mike Ashley’s business went on to reiterate a statement it had already made and said: “The company will continue the process of reviewing, updating and improving our core employment documents and procedures across our entire business beyond its existing compliant framework.”

Miliband pledged that, under a Labour government, “if you work regular hours you will have a legal right to a regular contract”.

He said Sports Direct had “predictable turnover” and “big profits”, adding, “but, for too many of its employees, it is a terrible place to work”.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Whilst so-called zero hour contracts have a useful purpose for both employer and occasional employee, Ashley is deliberately exploiting them to avoid liability for, inter alia, sick pay and holiday pay.

    He is giving retail a bad name and should not wait for a law change to treat his employees properly; waffle such as 'existing compliant framework' can only further antagonise the situation.

    Hopefully Drapers can help to discourage such unethical behaviour.

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  • Mixed bag here. Miliband is anti business and has a very naive view of how business really works in modern day Britain and the wider world.

    However, Sports Direct aren't doing anything illegal, so under legislation changes this practise will continue.

    The only thing that can happen is people look elsewhere for work the than SD - Nobody is forcing anyone to work there and as long as people are prepared to, the status quo will - for now at least - remain.

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  • Surely the point is that while there is still not full employment here, people ARE forced to accept these contracts because they are marginally better than no contract at all.... and even that is debatable?!

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  • Nobody has to work for Sports Direct. Either you accept the terms or not. If it isn't good enough for British workers, then foreign workers will embrace it with open arms and Ashley knows that.

    Beggars can't be choosers.

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