Carol singers to hit Sports Direct 'scrooges' with powerful hymn

The Shirebrook distribution centre employs thousands of people including foreign workers from around Europe.
The Shirebrook distribution centre employs thousands of people including foreign workers from around Europe.

Carol singers are to target a Sports Direct store amid calls for a Revenue and Customs probe

Members of Unite and church choirs are to descend upon a Sports Direct store tomorrow.

Sports Direct

Sports Direct

Carol singers will be targeting Sports Direct stores this Saturday (12 December) to highlight what the union calls ‘scrooge like’ working practices, amid calls for HM Revenue and Customs to investigate allegations that the company gets around paying the national minimum wage.

We reported earlier this week on a major investigation found the retailer’s Shirebrook warehouse didn't pay employees for the time it takes each day to search the, on the way out of the building.

Likening working conditions in the warehouse to a ‘gulag’, the investigation also found that workers were being docked wages for arriving as little as a minute late to work.

Now members of Unite have co-ordinated with local choirs to deliver a powerful message to employees at the Mansfield store in St Peter's Retail Park, calling working conditions 'Dickensian'.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “ ‘Gulag’ working conditions have no place in 21st century Britain. The Sports Direct board should be ashamed that its workforce is treated in such an appalling way.

“Unpaid searches and the docking of pay are potentially illegal and a scandal that could cause Sports Direct reputational damage. We are currently consulting with lawyers and would encourage Sports Direct workers at Shirebrook to contact Unite to pursue potential legal action and damages.

“In the meantime HMRC should not shrink from doing the right thing and should investigate Sports Direct as a matter of priority.”

Unite regional officer Luke Primarolo added: “The majority of the workers at the Shirebrook depot are on precarious agency contracts, which while not illegal, make it virtually impossible for them to challenge unfair treatment for fear of losing their job.

“The culture of fear at Sport Direct’s Shirebrook depot is more akin to a workhouse than a FTSE 100 company. It needs to change with agency workers being given permanent contracts by Sports Direct and paid a decent wage.”

It follows a similar choral flashmob which hit the retailer's Chesterfield branch in late November.

Read more: Flashmob choir hits Sports Direct with hilarious hymn

If you would like to join the singalong on December 12, 11am at Sports Direct, St Peter's Retail Park, you can see the video and learn the words to the hymn here.