Sports Direct boss blames poor treatment of workers on… trade union Unite

Mike Ashley makes concessions, but points finger at stormy meeting


Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has blamed his company’s rap sheet of failures on trade union Unite, which represents the workers he has exploited.

In a stormy meeting of the retail firm’s shareholders, Ashley responded to criticism from Steve Turner, Unite’s assistant general secretary, by saying the union was ‘probably’ responsible for the company’s woes.

Sports Direct has been forced to admit ‘serious shortcomings’ over its treatment of staff after Guardian reports exposed harsh conditions at a Sports Direct warehouse.

The company has promised to offer 12-hour contracts to zero hours workers and pay a national living wage to all employees.

But according to the Guardian, when Turner suggested few would take up the contracts offer, given they are already overworked, Ashley replied:

‘This is probably your fault we are in this situation because we can’t talk to you in an open manner.

I’ve made a commitment to make a difference and I’m trying so don’t pull me down.’

He added:

‘Don’t do the whole showboating thing. It will make me turn away and the only people who suffer are people that work at Sports Direct.’

Ashley was grilled by MPs in June over Sports Direct’s treatment of workers, where the founder and majority shareholder admitted to paying less than minimum wage.

As the company’s share price tumbles, Ashley has made a range of concessions, including a workers’ representative on its board.

See: Sports Direct forced to pay £1million to workers after Unite campaign

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3 Responses to “Sports Direct boss blames poor treatment of workers on… trade union Unite”

  1. Mike Hamblett

    That’s called ‘pulling a Philip Green’ – ghastly parasitic scoundrels

  2. Dennis Boot

    These lowlife billionaires have been allowed to get away with all types of crime by a government infested in the same kind of people, wait till Brexit become law ,it is a mandate for a crooked government , and its billionaire followers to have a field day with the weak and the workers of Britain, a continuation of the nasty parties tight control and reduction of workers Rights, Those who voted OUT thanks for nothing.

  3. Robert Leslie

    Mr Ashley is rapidly becoming the ‘unacceptable face of capitalism’.
    His company’s business practices, employment practices, worker remuneration practices and work-place environment practices are all being called into question by HMG, the media and the good old general public.
    It’s good to see fat Mike (with his roll of fifty-pound notes in his back pocket) in the hot seat.
    But for the Tories Mr Ashley is a shining example of a wealth-creator and job-provider.
    Nice to see the Tories having to wrestle with the problem of workplace exploitation writ large (even larger than Mr Ashley ) – how about some union activity, Mrs May?

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