MIKE Ashley's Sports Direct is facing a claim for millions of pounds from nearly 300 workers who were left out of a multi-million bonus scheme because they were on zero-hours contracts.


Lawyers for the part-time staff, who worked at the chain between April 2008 and August 2013, have been preparing multiple claims for breach of contract.

The company, founded and owned by Rangers powerbroker Mike Ashley paid out about £160 million worth of shares to 2,000 "permanent" workers in 2013.

Lawyers are understood to have sent letters to Sports Direct's legal team on Friday claiming a total of just over £1m in compensation for missed bonuses for a first batch of 30 workers.

Letters relating to the remaining 268 workers are expected to be filed over the next six months or so.

It is understood individual claims average about £36,000 each but the highest is worth over £100,000.

Up to 90 per cent of the work force of 20,000 at Sports Direct are on zero-hours contracts, which do not come with sick pay, holidays and do not guarantee a set number of hours a week.

In October, Sports Direct had to spell out the realities of taking a zero hours contract job with the retailer after settling a legal battle with a former worker employed using the policy.

Mike Ashley's high street chain reached a settlement with Zahera Gabriel-Abraham after she launched a case claiming sex discrimination, unfair treatment and breach of holiday rights.

Ms Gabriel-Abraham began the claim after taking a zero-hours contract with Sports Direct which she says did not make clear that she might not be offered work with the business.

Under the settlement, Sports Direct was expected to rewrite its job adverts and employment contracts to expressly state they do not guarantee work, produce clear written policies explaining what holiday and sick pay zero-hours workers are entitled to and display the new policies prominently in stores for staff to see.

Sports Direct said that the settlement was made without admission of any liability whatsoever.

The company declined to comment on the legal claim.