Sports Direct
Campaigners against zero-hours contracts at Sports Direct have won a minor victoryReuters

Campaigners against zero-hours contracts at Sports Direct have won a minor victory after the retailer promised to change some of its recruitment and policy practices.

The move comes after legal action by a former zero-hours employee, Zahera Gabriel-Abraham, was taken against billionaire Mike Ashley's firm.

The settlement means that Sports Direct is required to, among other things, re-write its job adverts and employment contracts for future zero-hours staff to expressly state that the roles do not guarantee work.

In addition, the company pledged to produce clear written policies setting out what sick pay and paid holiday their zero-hours staff are entitled to as well as display copies of the new policies in all staff rooms used by zero-hours staff across its 400 plus stores in the UK.

"Zero- hours workers are not second class workers," said Elizabeth George, from the law firm Leigh Day.

"They have the right to be treated fairly and with respect. They have the right to take holidays and to be paid when they take them. They have the right to statutory sick pay.

"They have a right to request guaranteed hours. Sports Direct will now have to make that crystal clear to staff. By doing so the risk of those rights being ignored or misunderstood by managers will be significantly reduced in the future."

Leigh Day explained that the steps agreed in relation to the company's job advertisements will apply from 25 November 2014 and all other changes have to be completed by the company by no later than 25 February 2015.

The case, supported by activist group 38 Degrees, was due to go a full hearing at Croydon Employment Tribunal in November this year.

A spokesperson for Sports Direct confirmed that that the FTSE 100 firm had reached a settlement with Gabriel-Abraham.

"The settlement is without any admission of any liability on the part of Sports Direct whatsoever," a spokesperson said.

"It was clear from the proceedings that we and Gabriel-Abraham felt equally strongly about our respective positions and that each had different perceptions of the events that took place.

"The company will continue the process of reviewing, updating and improving our core employment documents and procedures across our entire business beyond its existing compliant framework."

The settlement comes after the Office for National Statistics said that there were around 1.4 million zero-hours contracts in use in late 2013