Sports Direct's agencies struggle to defend 336 hours contracts

Sports Direct agencies struggle to defend contracts
Sports Direct agencies struggle to defend contracts

Transline and Best Connection Group

Witnesses: Chris Birkby, Managing Director, Jennifer Hardy, Finance Director, Transline, and Andy Sweeney, Chief Executive Officer, Best Connection Group Ltd

Sports Direct's recruitment agencies have struggled to defend the contracts and 'six strikes' policy to MPs.

336 hours contracts guarantee 336 hours worth of work over a 12-month period. They are organised at Sports Direct through agencies Transline and Best Connection Group. They help Sports Direct cut costs, and are not much better than zero-hours contracts as the amount of guaranteed work is so low.

The panel claimed that these contracts provide staff with flexibility, as is the common defence of zero hours contracts. However, the contract states that an employee must accept any suitable assignment offered by the company unless there is just cause. It does not define what just cause is, but leaves it wide open to dismiss staff who cannot work this specific shift.

Andy Sweeney suggests that the evidence heard from Unite misrepresented what the site is about. The panel claim that none of the staff they have supplied have been mistreated.

This is in spite of the relatively arbitrary system of strikes, and the contracts that state staff can be dismissed without reason.