Live updates

Advertisement

  1. National

Ashley makes wage pledge to Sports Direct employees

Sports Direct employs around 28,000 staff across the UK and Europe. Credit: PA

Mike Ashley has promised to spend £10 million on raising the pay of all Sport Direct employees to above the minimum wage.

The pledge comes after the company's pay and employment practices, including the use of zero hours contracts, faced criticism.

Sports Direct has since announced that Mr Ashley will oversee a review of all agency worker terms and conditions.

Announcing the move, the Newcastle United owner told the Daily Mirror: "I believe as a FTSE 100 or even 250 company we have a responsibility to set a high moral standard.

"We're putting our money where our mouth is and have notified the City we will be spending £10 million ensuring all employees are above the minimum wage."

Mike Ashley pledges £10m pay boost for staff

Mike Ashley promises to raise pay for Sports Direct employees. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mike Ashley has pledged to spend £10m on raising the pay of all of Sports Direct's employees to above the minimum wage.

The move follows criticism from unions and in Parliament over the retail giant's pay and employment practices, including the use of zero hours contracts, under which staff do not know how many hours they will work from one week to the next.

It also comes shortly after the board announced that the Newcastle United owner would oversee a review of all agency worker terms and conditions at the company.

The rise, announced in an interview with the Daily Mirror, is likely to most benefit casual workers in its stores and agency staff in its depot.

He told the paper: "I'm making a New Year's resolution pledge to the Daily Mirror - and I'm deadly serious. I want to see Sports Direct become the best high street retail employer, after John Lewis.

"I realise this is ambitious and it won't be easy but I believe as a FTSE 100 or even 250 company we have a responsibility to set a high moral standard.

"We're putting our money where our mouth is and have notified the City we wil be spending £10mn ensuring all employees are above the minimum wage."

He added that thousands of Sports Direct staff received "life-changing" bonuses each year.

The rise will amount to around 15p an hour meaning workers 21 and above will receive £6.85p per hour, and 18 to 20 year olds will be paid £5.45p hourly, the paper said.

There are around 4,300 agency workers employed in Sports Direct's warehouse, while the company employs around 28,000 staff across the UK and Europe.

Sports Direct posted half-year results showing a 3.6% rise in underlying pre-tax profits for the six months to October 25.

Advertisement

  1. Calendar

Government failed to notice steel 'warning bells'

National steel protest in Sheffield

The Government was not alert enough to the warning bells sounded by the UK steel industry, says the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Committee in a report published today.

The BIS Committee found that while the Government identified the steel industry as of vital importance, it did not have effective warning systems in place to detect and address mounting problems in the industry.

The Committee also found that a lack of action at EU level, and a failure by UK Governments to push for EU action, helped leave the UK heavily exposed to Chinese dumping, a global oversupply of steel, and a 'perfect storm' of difficulties for the industry.

More than 1,500 steel jobs are under threat in Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire alone.

In recent months, a series of site closures and job losses at sites including in Redcar, Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire, have dealt a major blow to the UK Steel industry. The steel industry is now on the verge of terminal decline. For too long the Government failed to be alert to the alarms raised by the industry and act at home to maintain a steel industry in the UK when other European countries were acting to safeguard their own strategic steel industries.

The industry isn't looking for a hand-out, it's looking for a level-playing field: for too long there was little action from the Government, with some asks from the industry taking years, if at all, to deliver.

The Government have now woken up to the steel crisis and have begun to take action. But this recent activity still needs to translate to concrete results for the industry and the communities they sustain.

– Iain Wright MP, BIS Committee chair

Union reaction to Northern Rail and Trans-Pennine franchise announcement

Following this morning's announcement that the government intends to award the Northern Rail franchise to Arriva Rail North Limited, and the TransPennine Express franchise to First Trans Pennine Express Limited, there has been heated reaction from the RMT union.

General Secretary Mick Cash said:

"This widely-trailed announcement is no surprise but will still come as a bitter blow to rail users and rail staff across the North.

Rather than all the garbage about the Northern Powerhouse this morning's announcement opens the door to years of cuts to staff and safety and to profiteering on an epic scale.

RMT has waged a public fight against this carve up, engaging the public and local politicians, and that fight goes on. The battle for a publicly owned, people's railway will continue regardless of today's profit-driven fit up."

Load more updates