Bosses at Sporting Bits in Westcliff-On-Sea have confirmed that a small number of staff members have been moved over to MINUS HOURS CONTRACTS as part of a trial to try and introduce a ‘fair and rewarding’ method of employment. As part of the pilot scheme, three shop floor workers have had their terms of work changed so that they are contractually required to owe the sports retailer ten hours per month, and these hours must be worked in order for the employee to remain with the company, regardless of whether or not the hours are available to them. Once these hours have been used up, the employee is then required to fulfill any shifts that are given to them, and they have been asked to provide regular feedback to the firm’s human resources department before the arrangement is potentially rolled out across all of their UK stores.

One of the staff involved in the trial spoke to our Chief Reporter about their new contract, and she admitted that she was excited about her prospects for the future. She said: ‘I was expecting some sort of change to my working conditions after the minimum wage went up in April – this could have crippled a company of our size financially. By owing my employer ten hours every single month, I wake up every morning with a huge feeling of motivation that I need to go into work, and I am proud to be someone who is breaking away from the shackles of a zero-hours contract. I really think that minus hours contracts are the future, and I really hope that they go ahead with the full rollout.’

We asked Sporting Bits for a comment about the trial of minus hours contracts, and they emailed our Newsdesk to explain why they are trialling something that no other company has thought of. They said: ‘zero-hours contracts imply that we are under no obligation to provide a set amount of working hours for employees, and this trial takes matters one stage further to ensure that they stick around.’