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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”.

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740137009440804864

https://twitter.com/kadhimshubber/status/740137186897563648

The reaction wasn’t great…

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740132197521326081

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740142385259261952

https://twitter.com/AbiWilks/status/740120845402701824

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:

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740113173710245888

https://twitter.com/kadhimshubber/status/740150185855160320

https://twitter.com/kadhimshubber/status/740150091193929732

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740114757156495360

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740115146270461952

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

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740119865579737088

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740121241521098752

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740121834289569792

https://twitter.com/kadhimshubber/status/740140897187340288

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

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740116026042486784

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

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740138596544479232

He admitted he’s not Father Christmas…

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740116841394274304

Somehow through all this he seemed to be doing well…

Despite some alarming claims from unions…

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740118370192896000

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740128117088477184

There were reports about sexism towards female staff…

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740127962788466688

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

https://twitter.com/tompeck/status/740145050609430528

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

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740122982039867393

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740123164794093568

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740124267321413632

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

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740128324270329856

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.

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740131032096223232

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740150934920122368

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

https://twitter.com/SimonNeville/status/740151293558325248

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