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Things heat up as Sports Direct owner blames Unions

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley Credit: PA

Founder and majority shareholder Mike Ashley said in a video statement that he would put a workers' representative on its board.

Amid heated exchanges at the annual general meeting this morning, Mr Ashley clashed with members of Unite, blaming the union for the businesses problems.

In response to Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said:

"This is probably your fault we are in this mess because we can't talk to you. I made a commitment to make a difference, I am trying, don't pull me down.> "I accept I have made some errors and I accept I can learn something. Please don't do the whole showboating thing, it will make me turn away and it's the people who work in Sports Direct who suffer."

– Steve Turner

Mr Ashley also criticised an independent shareholder for not declaring that she had links to Unite when she asked a question.

He said there also needed to be more transparency from the unions if they were to begin working together more closely.

Zero-hours contracts not 'negative for anyone' says Sports Direct boss

The boss of Sports Direct has pledged to end zero hours contracts for shop staff and says he doesn't see it as a negative for anyone.

The company sent an interview with Mike Ashley this evening in which he says "there's no reason why this wasn't put in years ago."

The retailer has also agreed to pay all workers in its Derbyshire-based warehouse above the minimum wage.

The announcement came today after the firm faced criticism over working conditions.

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