Wednesday 16 December 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Posted by Hari No comments Labels: , , , , ,
Posted by Hari on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 with No comments | Labels: , , , , ,

KJ, Chris and Fee discuss the Sports Direct "gulag"...

SOURCE GUARDIAN: A day at 'the gulag' - what it's like to work at Sports Direct's warehouse
Warehouse staff at the group, the booming retail chain controlled by the billionaire Mike Ashley, are required to go through searches at the end of each shift, for which their time is unpaid, while they also suffer harsh deductions from their wage packets for clocking in for a shift just one minute late. The practices contribute to many staff being paid an effective rate of about £6.50 an hour against the statutory rate of £6.70 – potentially saving the FTSE 100 firm millions of pounds a year at the expense of some of the poorest workers in the UK. The discovery of the low pay being received by Sports Direct workers comes on top of a string of criticisms of the working conditions within the retailer’s warehouse in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, where more than 80% of staff are on zero hours contracts. Workers are also: Harangued by tannoy for not working fast enough; Warned they will be sacked if they receive six black marks – or “strikes” (see document below) – over a six-month period for offences including a period of reported sickness, “errors,” excessive/long toilet breaks, using a mobile phone in the warehouse, “time wasting” and “excessive chatting” and “horseplay”; Banned from wearing 802 separate clothing brands at work; The rigorous searches – down to the last layer of clothing, asked to roll up trouser legs and show top of underwear –typically takes 15 minutes, because management is so concerned about potential theft. Meanwhile, local primary schoolteachers have told the Guardian that pupils can remain in school while ill – and return home to empty houses – as parents working at Sports Direct are too frightened to take time off work. Union officers say the strict culture in the warehouse has resulted in workers being afraid to speak out over low pay and conditions as they fear immediately losing their jobs. The criticisms of Sports Direct – which have also included questions about whether its pricing policies are misleading, as well as the influence Ashley has on a company whose shares are held by many UK pension funds – come as the public company continues to dominate the UK sports retailing market and its trading performance flourishes. The retailer’s success story is almost entirely credited to the unconventional retailing nous of Ashley, a self-made man whose fortune amounts to £3.5bn. Zoe Lagadec, a solicitor at Mulberry’s Employment Law Solicitors, said that docking 15 minutes of pay for clocking in slightly late is “arguably a breach of the national minimum wage, which carries both criminal and civil sanctions”.


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