Sports Direct tumbles from top company list

Sports Direct has tumbled out of the prestigious FTSE 100 - the list of the UK's top 100 companies.

Thursday, 3rd March 2016, 9:14 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd March 2016, 10:21 am
Sports Direct's Shirebrook base.
Sports Direct's Shirebrook base.

The news comes after the Shirebrook-based firm's market value tumbled by more than £1.5billion in just three months amid weak trading and allegations about its treatment of staff.

It was confirmed that Sports Direct would be joined in the lower tier FTSE 250 by Aberdeen Asset Management, engineering business Smiths Group and drugs firm Hikma Pharmaceuticals.

More than 3,000 agency workers are employed to work for Sports Direct at its Shirebrook warehouse where a recent newspaper investigation found working conditions likened to a 'gulag' and people working in fear of a 'six strikes and you’re out rule'.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A television investigation last year exposed a workforce in constant fear of losing their jobs with staff in the Shirebrook warehouse named and shamed over a tannoy for not working fast enough. A separate investigation found that ambulances were called to the Shirebrook site more than 80 times in two years.

Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of the Unite union, said: "Sports Direct has become the poster boy for bad British business with its shady corporate governance and draconian working practices. As a result investors are turning their back on a company that brings with it a stench of abuse and malpractice.

"Its fall from the FTSE 100 is salutary warning to boardrooms across the UK and points to deep seated problems within the retailer. Sports Direct needs to heed the message being delivered by the City and fundamentally rethink its corporate governance and the way it treats its workforce.

"Paying lip service to reviewing employment practices and giving pitiful pay rises will not repair Sports Direct’s tarnished reputation or meet chief executive Mike Ashley's promise of the retailer becoming a model employer.

"Sports Direct should be under no illusion. Unite will not stop campaigning until justice and dignity is secured in the workplace at Sports Direct. Only through root and branch reform and by working with Unite will Sports Direct begin to repair its battered share price and regain the confidence of customers and investors alike."

Sports Direct has offered to meet with MPs to discuss concerns about working practices at the business.