GUEST COLUMN: Way workers are treated at Sports Direct is worrying, by Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero

MP Gloria De Piero
MP Gloria De Piero

So billionaire businessman Mike Ashley has finally gone in front of MPs to answer questions about working conditions at Sports Direct’s Shirebrook warehouse.

While I am pleased that he did turn up and pay the business, innovation and skills select committee the respect it deserves, some of his answers reveal worrying information about the running of the company and Mr Ashley’s ability to ensure that workers are being treated as they should be.

He admitted that workers were effectively paid less than the minimum wage when they had to wait to be searched by security at the end of their shifts, that people were docked pay for being just one minute late and that Sports Direct operates ‘a six strike and you’re out’ policy that helps create a culture of fear. He admitted too many employees are on zero hours contracts and that the company has grown toobig, too quickly.

I have heard horror stories of life working at the warehouse first-hand and can guarantee that I will continue to work with Unite the Union to make sure that the improvements Mike Ashley has promised are implemented.

In the meantime, get in touch with me if you work there and are having problems by emailing gloria.depiero.mp@parliament.uk.

Out-of- hours GP services are vital when a loved one falls ill over a weekend and you can’t wait until Monday morning to see a doctor. When I heard that Central Nottinghamshire Clinical Services (CNCS), the company which ran out-of-hours GP services for Ashfield, had gone into administration, my first thought was that patient care must not be affected.

The local health commissioners moved quickly to find a replacement provider and after asking questions to the Department of Health, I have been assured that the handover of services was smooth and that the service on offer now is exactly the same as it was. I hope this continues to be the case while a new long-term provider is found, but I am interested to hear people’s experiences. Email me if you have any issues.

Invitations have started to go out for my annual jobs fair which will be taking place on September 9, at Festival Hall Leisure Centre. Employers are being given the opportunity to set up a stall and speak to local people about the types of jobs they have available.

Events in previous years have been huge successes and great examples of how a community canwork together to tackle unemployment. If you are looking to recruit more workers, get in touch and secure a place.