Sports Direct to undertake workers’ review

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UNDER-fire Sports Direct is to carry out a review of all its agency worker terms and conditions.

The review follows a string of high-profile examples, including two recent local cases, of bad practice surrounding the company.

The company made national headlines when it was involved in sacking a Leigh woman via text.

Ann Hesford, a 61-year-old grandmother, was employed on a zero hours contract processing work at the company’s Wigan warehouse but was abruptly told by text message her services were no longer required.

Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue blasted the firm, describing their working practices as “more akin to a Dickensian workhouse than a FTSE 100 company”.

Ms Hereford was found the work at Sports Direct’s Martland Mill warehouse by agency Transline.

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley will oversee the review of all agency worker terms and conditions.

The move follows criticism of the retail giant’s pay and employment practices, including the use of zero hours contracts, under which staff don’t know how many hours they will work from one week to the next.

The Unite union has led a campaign against the company, holding demonstrations and briefing MPs in Parliament earlier this week.

However, the company appeared to pre-judge the findings of its own review by issuing a lengthy statement defending itself against the criticism.

The statement said: “Sports Direct has sought to address questions relating to its employment practices on a case-by-case basis directly with the enquirer, but it has become evident that by doing so various parties have chosen to ignore the facts provided and have continued to present an unfair portrayal of the company’s employment practices.

“Sadly, it is also now clear that some others have chosen to rely on this portrayal when making public statements about Sports Direct, rather than obtaining information directly from the company before commenting.

“The board takes its responsibilities towards all the company’s stakeholders, be they staff, contractors, suppliers or customers, extremely seriously.

“Without our commitment to our staff and the implementation of a performance-led culture which encourages success, there is no way Sports Direct would have been able to grow from a single sports shop over 33 years ago to the global retailer it is 
today.”