Imagine working in a factory where you are monitored round the clock in harsh working conditions. You are shamed by your bosses that ‘you must work harder’. Your bosses punish you for chatting too much, spending too much time in the loo or being sick and unable to attend work. You are required to work weekends, have restricted holidays and are ‘body searched’ after every shift. This behaviour is unacceptable and shouldn’t be happening in the UK in 2015. Yet, over 2,000 plus workers face this day in and day out at Sports Direct’s Shirebrook factory.
The majority of the workforce are recruited and employed by two agencies - Best Connection and Transline. If you work for these agencies and are found that you are not sticking to their ‘six strikes and you’re out’ policy then you will be sacked for offences such as spending too long in the toilet or talking too much.
It’s not just the factory staff that are treated so badly! Three quarters of the workforce at Sports Direct’s high street shops in the UK are employed on zero-hour contracts. They have no future, and no security whatsoever as they don’t know how many hours they will work from one week to the next, with no sick pay or holiday pay and no guarantee of work.
Unite Community in NEY&H has been at the forefront of the fight for decent working conditions at Sports Direct over the last year. We have staged scores of imaginative and lively demonstrations across the region which have garnered widespread press coverage. We have worked with Newcastle United supporters, Unite Young members and other trade union activists to raise awareness of the horrendous conditions in Sports Direct’s warehouses and campaign against the use of casual labour across the retail sector.
It’s easy to support our campaign, just go online and enter the search term #SportsDirectShame to keep up to date and see how you can get involved.