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07th Jun 2016

Sports Direct warehouse staff “docked 15 minutes pay for being one minute late”

MPs are hearing grim details about zero-hour contracts, sexism, and reports of ambulances being called out.

Declan Cashin

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley has come before MPs today to explain some of his high street chain’s most controversial employment policies – and the picture that emerges about what it’s like to work at one of its key warehouses is pretty bleak indeed.

Ashley has admitted that docking 15 minutes pay for being one minute late for work at his Sports Direct Shirebrook Warehouse in Derbyshire is “unacceptable” and “unreasonable”.

The reaction wasn’t great…

Other grim employment details are coming out as the Business, Innovations and Skills Parliamentary Select Committee investigate working practices at the Derbyshire warehouse.

Simon Neville, business editor with BuzzFeed UK, is inside the committee hearing and has been live-tweeting proceedings.

Plenty of information on the pay practices and the use of zero-hour contracts at the company came out during the hearing:

These pre-paid debt cards are mostly given to workers from Eastern Europe:

The Unite union, which represents the warehouse workers, also shared these alarming details about work conditions:

A BBC investigation last year said that ambulances were called out to Sports Direct’s facilities in Derbyshire 76 times in two years.

He admitted he’s not Father Christmas…

Somehow through all this he seemed to be doing well…

Despite some alarming claims from unions…

There were reports about sexism towards female staff…

…which led to this The Thick Of It-style moment:

The agency Transline, which supplies staff to Sports Direct, also came in for a grilling:

They dispute the evidence that has been heard so far, of course:

So what’s going to happen as a result of all this disclosure?

Well, Ashley says he’s involved in an “ongoing process” of investigating working conditions – though it’s not clear if he’s ultimately the one who can and will implement any changes.

Plus his stated commitment to transparency has been called into question:

Do you work, or have you worked at a Sports Direct, or on a zero hour contract somewhere else? If you want to share your experiences confidentially, mail us: [email protected], or message us on Facebook