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09/02/2016 - Football fans against zero hour contracts

zeroAt the weekend there was a protest at Rangers Ibrox stadium against Sports Direct and its shameful employment practices. Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has a 9 per cent stake in the club.

Unite’s Decent Work For All campaign has targeted Sports Direct and its owner Mike Ashley over the company’s use of zero-hours contracts, poverty pay and draconian employment practices.

Unite Scotland Community co-ordinator Jamie Caldwell warned: “Around 1.8 million people across the UK are on zero-hours contracts with no entitlement to holidays, sick pay or security and the majority of those affected are young workers in the retail and hospitality sectors.”

Mr Caldwell accused Sports Direct of being “one of the worst culprits” in using the contracts, adding that the company, which has an operating profit of £180 million, is “responsible for one-fifth of all zero-hours contracts in the UK retail sector, while owner Mike Ashley has made billions off the back of these draconian working conditions.”

Mr Ashley has attempted to deflect the growing negative publicity by awarding a 15p pay rise to workers — an increase dismissed as “paltry” by Mr Caldwell, who added: “Now we have him on the run there will be no let up.”

Unite are calling for Sports Direct to pay a living wage and have called on HM Revenue & Customs to investigate alleged breaches of the minimum wage at the company’s Shirebrook distribution headquarters.

Activists unfurled a banner reading #SportsDirectShame during the televised Rangers v Kilmarnock game.

Earlier this year, a section of the Newcastle home support unfurled a 'Sports Direct Shame' banner in their match against Manchester United - exposing the company to a worldwide television audience as well as the 49,600-strong St James' Park crowd.

Pat Harrington of Solidarity Union said: "It's great to see young football fans standing up for the rights of workers. Zero hour contracts put the worker in the terrible position of not knowing how much they will get paid any given week".