Sports Direct 'sorry' for shortcomings in working practices

Sports Direct has apologised for 'serious shortcomings' in its working practices at its Shirebrook warehouse.

Tuesday, 6th September 2016, 9:51 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th September 2016, 10:56 am
Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley gives evidence to parliament.

And the national retailer has announced a full review of its practices following a damning independent report into its conditions.

In the report commissioned by the firm, it apologised for conditions at the warehouse, which have been likened to those of a Victorian workhouse.

The report said: “Serious shortcomings were identified in working practices in warehouse which the Sports Direct board deeply regrets and apologises for.”

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It has also pledged to offer casual retail staff at least 12 guaranteed hours a week, instead of zero-hour contracts – but almost all staff at the warehouse are agency workers making them ineligible for the new contract.

The news is a huge victory for the Chad, which first exposed draconian working conditions at the Shirebrook site two years ago, after a migrant worker gave birth in the company toilets on New Year’s Day because she was too scared of losing her job to ask to go home.

Chad’s investigation was later followed up by the BBC and the Guardian Newspaper, which eventually led to a Parliamentary enquiry.

Sports Direct said: “The board announces it has received the Working Practices Report from RPC, one of the company’s legal advisers, which captures progress made in the last 90 days by the business to investigate, review and where appropriate start to address shortcomings in employment practices.

“In light of the report, today the Board announces it has requested RPC to lead a further comprehensive review of working practices that will use this report as a benchmark to identify what further action is required and to monitor steps already undertaken.

“The review will also include examining the company’s corporate governance, and as part of this process, the board will engage with shareholders to obtain their views.

“This comprehensive review of working practices and corporate governance will take place over the next 12 months and be presented to shareholders in 2017.”