£43 million awarded to Sports Direct staff in bonuses

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Sports Direct has dished out over £43 million in bonuses to over 2000 staff as a reward for “their magnificent achievements”.

The bonuses will be awarded to employees who took park in a share scheme in 2011, with each member potentially netting an average of £21,000 on top of normal pay packages.

11.1 million shares were handed to employees, worth 390p per share, which Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley said was to reward their loyalty and hard work.

“The people at Sports Direct deserve every penny of these bonuses,” he said.

“It’s thanks to their magnificent achievements and fantastic loyalty that we are able to make progress towards becoming the ‘Selfridges’ of sport.”

The generous bonus scheme was seen by many as controversial as it rewarded a small proportion of the retailer’s 29,000 work force.

It previously stated in its annual report that permanent and temporary staff would receive £19 million in rewards this year.

This comes just days after the Sports Directs annual general meeting, which last year descended into controversy as Ashley brandished a wad of £50 notes during a mock security check while attempting to repair public relations over paying workers less than minimum wage.

Ashley cancelled the press tour of the Shirebrook warehouse this year, avoiding any similar slipups.

However, the company’s chairman Keith Hellawell narrowly avoided being forced to step down by shareholders.

He also defended criticisms that the retailer had not made good on its promises to shift temporary staff to full time contracts and brushed aside calls for an independent review of working practices and corporate governance.

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