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Woman in landmark zero hours case


Sports direct zero hours tribunalDonations needed to support former shop worker in tribunal claim over unfair treatment of casual workers.

Last month the Sports Direct group announced that it was awarding its staff an average of 12,000 shares each.

But the part-time staff, the majority of the workforce, were – and are – not eligible for this Bonus Share Scheme.

Part-time staff at are also denied paid annual leave, sick pay and other bonuses available to full-time staff.

The campaigning organisation 38 Degrees is seeking donations to enable a former shop worker to take her ex-employer,, to an industrial tribunal over claims of less favourable treatment of part time staff.

Zahera Gabriel-Abraham, 30, from South-West London, started working at the Croydon  store in October 2012 as a part-time sales assistant.

Ms Gabriel-Abraham claims she should have been treated no less favourably than the full-time staff. employs 23,000 staff, 20,000 of whom are part-time, and termed ‘casual’ workers, so they have no guaranteed working hours.

These contracts have become known as zero hours contracts.

And this case follows mounting concern over the growing use of zero hours contracts.

WVoN recently reported that zero hours contracts were increasingly being used in female-dominated industries like care and retail.

Under zero hours contracts workers receive no guaranteed paid working hours, and there have been reports of workers on zero hours contracts being sent home during slack periods and receiving no payment for expenses like work-related travel, training and uniforms.

Elizabeth George, a barrister in the employment team of law firm 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’s 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.”

David Babbs, executive director of 38 Degrees, said: “Big businesses must be held to account and zero hours contracts must not be used as a justification to abuse employees’ rights.

“We want to help make sure employees’ rights are respected, and these contracts are not used as another means to maximise profit at the expense of hard-working people.”

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