Driving home from work a few days ago, I was again listening to the radio. It was pleasing to hear the Sports Direct management had been given a well deserved rough time by their share holders. This took place alongside the Sports Direct improvements announced for the benefit of their staff.
So are Sports Direct improving? The improvements included the end of zero hour contracts and other concessions to address the Victorian-like practices. As a reminder, we were told of the dreadful practices of this awful employer which included penalising people for toilet breaks and minor infringements leading to a “six strikes and you’re out”. Since when did that make a workforce feel motivated to serve an employer? There have been examples of workers being driven to exhaustion which has led to accidents and other occasions when ambulances have been called. Perhaps the most dramatic was for a female member of staff who gave birth in the toilets.
While the management have made some concessions and have, in a coerced manner, admitted they have got a few things wrong, one wonders if they really mean it and whether the change in heart will permeate down to the shop floor.
Even more interesting and compelling would be to know about their supply chain practices. If Sports Direct have been treating their UK staff so badly as a way of maximising their profits, what about the working conditions of their suppliers?
Now that would be interesting for a journalist to look into….