Sports Direct bows to pressure for independent review

After continued critisism for its working conditions, especially in its Shirebrook warehouse Sports Direct has bowed to pressure for an independent review, displacing its lawyers [PRC] in favour of an as yet unknown “independent party”.

In a stock exchange announcement, Sports Direct said: “Having given careful consideration to concerns raised by independent shareholders, facilitated by the Investor Forum, Sports Direct today announces that the forthcoming ‘360-degree’ review of working practices and corporate governance which was announced on 6 September 2016 and which was to be led by [Sports Direct’s lawyers] RPC will now be led by an independent party other than RPC.”

It added: “The board will continue constructive dialogue with the company’s independent shareholders in order to reach agreement regarding the specific nature and timing of the review.”

Sports Direct has come under continued criticism for its working conditions, especially in its Shirebrook warehouse.

The Mike Ashley-controlled discount retailer threw open the doors to its Shirebrook warehouse earlier this month in an effort to be more transparent following a report on its working conditions by RPC.

The report was carried out in light of fierce criticism from unions, the media and followed a Select Committee inquiry into working practice.

It admitted there has been “serious shortcomings” in its working practices which it “deeply regrets and apologises for” and said that Mike Ashley took “ultimate responsibility for any aspects of the working practices that were unsatisfactory”.

It also changed its stance on the zero-hour contracts that the retailer has become synonymous with.

Sports Direct also revealed today that the selection process for new Workers’ Representative on the Board of Sports Direct would be via staff elections, in which all staff “directly engaged or employed” are eligible to vote.

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