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Ex-USC workers win case against Mike Ashley

Fifty former workers at Sports Direct-owned young fashion firm USC have secured a protected redundancy payout after the business gave them just 15 minutes’ notice before they lost their jobs.

USC administrators Duff & Phelps will have to set money aside for the former staff of Sports Direct’s warehouse in Dundonald, Ayrshire, following the employment tribunal ruling. Judge Robert Gall said the workers should each receive 90 days’ redundancy.

The payments could run into thousands of pounds per employee, according to Glasgow’s The Evening Times.

Rory McPherson, a partner at Thompsons Solicitors, who represented the workers, said: “This judgement is very good news for the former employees at Dundonald who brought the case. They showed courage in standing up to and beating a rich and powerful employer like [Sports Direct founder] Mike Ashley, who used disgraceful and unlawful employment practices.

“I call on politicians in both Holyrood and Westminster to do all they can to stop employers like Mr Ashley thinking they can ride roughshod over workers’ rights.”

A total of 88 workers were made redundant at the Dundonald warehouse in January. The tribunal heard the firm was aware of its financial difficulties and a possibility of administration as far back as November 2014.

Stock was removed from the warehouse on January 7 and Sports Direct appointed administrators for USC on January 13. However, workers were not informed that their jobs had been axed until January 14, and the staff claim they were given just 15 minutes’ notice of their redundancy.

At a Scottish Affairs Committee hearing on March 25, Sports Direct chairman Keith Hellawell said there was insufficient time for a consultation period as the decision to close the warehouse was made too soon after the chain went into administration.

Sports Direct declined to comment.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Ashley and his cronies are a disgrace and bring UK retail into disrepute.

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