Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley will provide a written update into working practices at his firm by September 23, after a series of allegations on how some workers are treated at the firm were put to him at a parliamentary hearing last month.
Ashley has appointed independent legal advisors to compile a working practices report, he said in a letter to Iain Wright, chair of the business, innovation and skills select committee, which led the inquiry.
“As you know, I do not believe there is ever a time when we can stop trying to improve things. So while it is unlikely that we can address every allegation within 90 days, the report will set out details of our progress so far,” said Ashley. “It will also act as a benchmark for future improvements.”
Ashley came under fire for using a tannoy system at the Sports Direct warehouse in Shirebrook. It has been claimed the tannoy is used to criticise employees who are not working fast enough.
“The tannoy is only used for logistical purposes and we are currently drawing up a tannoy policy for managers (along with exploring other measures) to ensure that this remains the case,” he said in the letter published today.
The company has also held a meeting with the family of an agency worker who had a medical emergency while working at Shirebrook.
Ashley was also questioned over the use of a “six strikes and you’re out” policy for agency staff at the warehouse.
In the letter, he said these matters are under consideration and in the meantime “we are encouraging the agencies to ensure that their appeals procedure should be made more transparent as an interim measure”.
He said he has contacted trade union Unite to open “a constructive dialogue regarding the [strikes policy] and related matters” and has recently met with a Unite representative at Shirebrook to listen to its concerns “with an open mind”.
Ashely reiterated his offer for MPs to visit the site in Shirebrook. He said the company’s AGM, due to be held on September 7, was a date on which “you may wish to consider taking a tour”.
The full letter is attached.