BIS committee chair urges Mike Ashley to leave employment agency Transline Group behind

Helen Cahill
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Sports Direct Founder Faces Commons Select Committee Over Working Conditions
Mike Ashley has been battling against investor and government pressure since a Guardian investigation last year (Source: Getty)

Iain Wright, the chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) select committee is pushing Sports Direct's founder Mike Ashley to ditch Transline Group, the agency that supplies workers for his Shirebrook warehouse.

The BIS committee said in a report on the working practices at Shirebrook that Transline Group had been misleading in evidence given during the MPs' inquiry into Sports Direct. The report concluded Ashley ran his warehouse like a "Victorian workhouse".

Read more: Four of the most jaw-dropping working practices at Sports Direct

Wright said: "Mike Ashley says he is committed to making conditions better for staff at Shirebrook. If he means what he says, he could start by cutting his ties with Transline Group who have not been candid or credible in their evidence to the Business Committee and, as we heard in our evidence sessions, have deducted money from low-paid workers without proper explanation and justification.

"I would expect other companies using Transline Group will want to think seriously about using a company that treats their workers and conducts its business in this way".

Read more: Sports Direct chairman: I have dealt with killers, I can survive board heat

He accused Ashley of employing workers from agencies in order to "reduce costs and avoid legal responsibility for their poor working conditions".

Transline Group have written to Wright to argue that it did not give misleading evidence deliberately.

Jennifer Hardy, finance director at Transline Group said in the letter:

We are disappointed to have been accused of deliberately misleading the committee. We have taken this matter extremely seriously and are actively assisting Sports Direct with the ongoing improvements to working conditions at Shirebrook.

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