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Sport Direct drops zero-hours contracts

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Sports Direct has announced plans to drop its zero-hours contracts and “six strikes” policy, following heavy criticism from MPs.

The retailer will offer its “casual” retail workers the opportunity to switch from a zero-hours agreement to a more permanent contract guaranteeing at least 12 hours per week, estimated to affect around 18,250 employees.

They will also scrap their controversial six-strikes-and-you’re-out policy, which saw workers receive a strike for offences such as “excessive chatting or long toilet breaks”.

In the report, the firm has also promised to provide additional training for warehouse supervisors, a confidential reporting system for victims of sexual harassment, and a test scheme transferring 10 agency staff a month to Sports Direct roles.

It will also appoint a full time nurse at its Shirebrook warehouse “who will hopefully be in a position to offer professional advice when an ambulance is or is not required”.

Earlier this year, the firm’s shareholders had called on founder Mike Ashley to take “ultimate responsibility for any aspects of the working practices that were unsatisfactory”, and improve both corporate governance and working practices at the company.