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Sep
2016
Sunday 25th
posted by Morning Star in Britain

by Peter Lazenby
BILLIONAIRE Mike Ashley, who oversaw shocking exploitation and Victorian working practices at Sports Direct, is taking over as the company’s new chief executive.
He replaces its long-standing chief executive Dave Forsey who resigned from the firm on Thursday.
As chief executive Mr Ashley will have direct responsibility for the working conditions and welfare of thousands of workers — despite having been lambasted by MPs and workers’ representatives for allowing the firm to operate a culture of fear, zero-hours contracts and body searches.
Mr Ashley said he felt he had “lost his right arm” after Mr Forsey’s departure, adding: “I do hope to have the opportunity to work with Dave again in the future.”
This is despite Mr Forsey facing charges relating to the collapse of fashion retailer USC, which Sports Direct had bought.
He is accused of breaching employment law by failing to notify the authorities about 80 redundancies at a USC warehouse in Scotland last year.
Mr Ashley was the executive deputy chairman when the public spotlight fell on Sports Direct for the appalling working practices at its Shirebrook warehouse in Derbyshire, which employs 3,000 workers.
Sports Direct has promised to introduce changes to its working practices which previously included threatening employees with sackings if they took lunch breaks or holiday.
One employee gave birth in a toilet because she was too frightened to take time off.
Shadow business secretary Jon Trickett critisised the appointment of Mr Ashley as the new chief executive.
He said: “Swapping the deck chairs around is not the solution — it’s the underlying culture at Sports Direct that needs to be challenged and changed.
“Whether Mike Ashley — who has presided over Sports Direct’s objectionable working practices for years — is the right man to bring about the change needed is questionable.
“He will need to end the bullying culture at the company, get rid of zero-hours contracts, stop their over-reliance on agency workers and address the high levels of workplace injuries.”
peterlazenby@peoples-press.com




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