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Sports Direct security held staff to work below minimum wage

Staff writer |
Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has admitted that he paid workers below the minimum wage, also telling UK MPs that he has discovered "issues" with working practices as part of an internal review.

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Ashley told MPs from the Business Select Committee that security guards at the company's Shirebrook warehouse held up staff from leaving, meaning they were effectively paid less than the minimum wage.

MPs are investigating working practices at Sports Direct's warehouse, including poor conditions, the use of controversial zero-hours contracts and payment procedures.

Ashley described his review as a "work in progress", adding: "I've discovered some issues and I've hopefully addressed some of those issues. Bottlenecks at security are the main issue." He also revealed that HMRC is investigating the firm over wages and that Sports Direct is in talks to offer backpay to staff.

Ashley was asked if employees were effectively paid less than the minimum wage, and answered: "On that specific point, for that specific bit of time, yes."

Earlier, MPs heard from the Unite union that a 'culture of fear' had pervaded at the warehouse. It was also claimed that one Sports Direct employee gave birth in a toilet.

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