Plans outlined today (Thursday 9 March) by the embattled retailer Sports Direct, to choose a worker representative to sit in on its board meetings, drew a sceptical response from Britain’s largest union, Unite.
The union which has been at the forefront of a campaign against ‘Victorian’ work practices at Sport Direct’s Shirebrook warehouse warned the move risked being nothing more than a ‘PR exercise’.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: "Given Sports Direct's past behaviour and its refusal to involve Unite, we remain deeply sceptical about the process and whether a single unsupported representative will have a meaningful voice on a board which has been severely criticised for poor corporate governance.
"Question marks remain over whether the process is one by selection or election and who will be involved or able to stand. The majority of the shameful practices exposed by Unite involve over 3,000 agency workers at its Shirebrook warehouse.
“We remain to be convinced whether managers or supervisors directly employed by Sports Direct will actively voice the concerns of this sizeable part of the workforce should they be chosen as the worker representative.
"If the worker is hand-picked by Sports Direct, without union support, training and confidence to speak up, then this risks being little more than a PR exercise rather than a serious attempt to right the wrongs of the past."
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.