The board of Sports Direct has said it “deeply regrets and apologises” for the “serious shortcomings” identified in an initial review of its working practices, the results of which have been published this morning.
The review was carried out by Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC), one of the firm’s legal advisers, after a number of issues and allegations were put to Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley by the business, innovation and skills (BIS) committee at the House of Commons on 7 June.
These included that workers were being treated unfairly as a result of factors such as the “six strikes” disciplinary policy and zero-hours contracts.
The review found the retailer has already taken a number of steps to address the issues. Among those, Sports Direct will now offer its directly engaged casual retail workers the option to choose between zero-hours contracts or a permanent contract with a guaranteed number of minimum hours.
A policy has been put in place to ensure all of the staff in its Shirebrook warehouse are paid above the minimum wage. This comes after Ashley admitted that there had been some unintentional breaches due to bottlenecks in security, which delayed some people on site after they had clocked off.
The review also recommends that the employment agencies used by Sports Direct suspend their six strikes policies with immediate effect.
Sports Direct has already acknowledged that the six strikes policy operated in the warehouse was a “blunt instrument that left too much subjectivity in the hands of a few”, the review found.
The board has asked RPC to lead a further comprehensive review of the company’s working practices over the next 12 months, which will identify what further action is required and monitor steps already taken. The review will examine its corporate governance.
A report will be presented to shareholders in 2017.