Sports Direct Minimum Wage Back-Payments Will See Firm Hand Over £1 Million To Workers

Some workers could receive up to £1,000.

15/08/2016 14:24

Sports Direct is to hand more than £1 million to thousands of workers after the retailer admitted to not paying the minimum wage. 

The move will see some workers at Sports Direct Shirebrook warehouse in Derbyshire receive as much as £1,000 in payments back-dated to May 2012. 

The payments will be made to both agency workers and staff directly employed by Sports Direct, Unite the union said.  

Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley outside the Sports Direct headquarters in Shirebrook, Derbyshire.

The trade union said 96% of its members directly employed by Sports Direct had backed the pay deal, which covers unpaid searches at the end of shifts, reports the Press Association. 

Workers employed by Sports Direct and employment agency The Best Connection will start receiving back pay in full near the end of August, Unite said.

But it added that up to 1,700 Transline agency workers may only initially be handed half the back pay they are owed. 

The union said Transline is refusing to honour its commitments from when it took over at Shirebrook from recruitment firm Blue Arrow two years ago.

A recent report found Sports Direct was subjecting workers to “appalling” conditions where as well as not paying minimum wage, some workers others claimed they were offered contracts in exchange for sexual favours, according to MPs. 

Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Staff in the warehouse during a tour of the Sports Direct headquarters in Shirebrook, Derbyshire.

The retailer’s employees are treated like “commodities” instead of human beings and it operates more like a “Victorian workhouse” than a high street chain, a damning report from the Business Committee said.

Sports Direct staff were punished for taking short breaks to drink water or for being off sick, the disturbing report from MPs claimed.

They held Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley accountable for “appalling” conditions, which they warned could become the norm across Britain.

Steve Turner, Unite’s assistant general security, said it was a “significant victory” in the union’s campaign to secure dignity at work for the staff at Sports Direct. 

He added: “But investors and customers alike should not be fooled into thinking that everything is now rosy at Sports Direct’s Shirebrook warehouse.

“Transline, one of the employment agencies involved, is disgracefully still trying to short-change workers by seeking to duck its responsibilities.

“Deep-seated problems still remain regarding the use of agency workers with the behaviour of both Transline and The Best Connection further jeopardising Sports Direct’s battered reputation.

“Sports Direct needs to make Transline face up to its responsibilities and seriously confront endemic abuses within its employment agencies.”

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