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Angry voices call for Sports Direct investigation


MPS are calling for a government response to revelations that Sports Direct may be paying thousands of employees less than minimum wage. 

A report by The Guardian found that warehouse workers at Sports Direct were forced to submit to mandatory searches during unpaid time, and that employee attendance was monitored and enforced to such an extent that workers were afraid to ask for time off. 

Several MPs are now insisting that David Cameron respond with an investigation from the HMRC and the health and safety executive. 

“There is enough evidence to say that this needs an urgent response,” said Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead. “If we write to different arms of the government separately, they will trade one off against the other.” 

Meanwhile the Institute of Directors, which previously called Sports Direct “a scar on British Business”, continued its own campaign against the company. 

Writing to The Guardian, Senior Corporate Governance Adviser at the IoD Oliver Parry said: “This is not a simple question of more regulation – it must begin with the institutional investors, the large fund managers who have continually backed Sports Direct over the years, irrespective of their governance or working conditions. They must take up the challenge and engage with the Sports Direct board. If they do not, a wholesale change in the behaviour of the largest sports retailer in the UK is very hard to imagine.” 

Wright continued by saying that he “will certainly be writing to Mike Ashley to ask him to respond to these reports and explain how he and Sports Direct are fair and considerate employers who value workers who are employed in the company.” 

In response to the allegations, Sports Direct said that it believed it is “in compliance with minimum wage regulations and takes its responsibilities extremely seriously.”

Published on Thursday 17 December by Philip Gallagher

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