Working at Sports Direct is as awful as it sounds

My store has had no air con since I started there three years go

News broke yesterday that Sports Direct, the UK’s biggest sports retailer, has scrapped its zero hour contracts for retail workers. But it made no improvements for workers at its warehouse, despite conditions having been likened to a Victorian workhouse. Thousands of young people are employed there, and it’s basically alleged to be a shithole and a terrible place to work.

We spoke to a current Sports Direct employee, 20-year-old Gabi Carter, to see what it’s like to work for the sportswear behemoth.

Pretty in pink (red)

What do you think about the working conditions described in the Sports Direct report?

As a member of staff at a retail store and not the warehouses I have no idea about the working conditions they face, I assume that the large number of ambulance call-outs is in reference to staff fainting and such with all the heat. The store I work at has had no air con since I started there three years ago so summers are pretty unbearable. It’s like 30 degrees some days.

Are there any similarities though between the conditions described in the warehouses and the retail stores, such as the toilet breaks?

I personally find the working conditions at my store to be pretty good, my manager is very relaxed when it comes to toilet breaks and having some water and such as long as we don’t abuse it (aka go out for a drink every five minutes). However I do think our area manager has let the power go to his head a bit as he hates us going out for water out in the break room and doesn’t let us use the toilet when he comes into the store (among other things).

How do you feel about Sports Direct scrapping zero hour contracts? Surely as a student you would rather have fixed hours each month?

I don’t really like the idea of getting rid of zero hour contracts. I like being able to come home for one weekend a month and being able to work whatever hours I want to work. With a contract I wouldn’t be able to do that anymore and I’d effectively lose my job.

Could you some up your experience of working at Sports Direct?

All in all I love working at my sports direct, solely because of the people I work with. I reckon if I worked with other people I would’ve quit by now because the customers are so rude and there is a lot of pressure to sell add-ons like bags for life, insoles and such. I wouldn’t recommend the job itself to anyone as I have no idea how other stores treat their staff.