JD Sports workers 'treated like scum' at Rochdale warehouse

Conditions 'worse than prison' new investigation alleges

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Conditions at a JD Sports warehouse are “worse than a prison” and staff are threatened with being sacked just for sitting down, according to allegations made in a Channel 4 News film.

The undercover investigation shows workers “exploited” and treated “like cattle” and “like scum”, according to Iain Wright MP,  Chair of the Business Select Committee.

JD Sports “absolutely refutes” the claims made in the report and says they are “simply not true”

Workers are allegedly paid less than the minimum wage as they have to arrive early for their shifts due to extensive security checks at the beginning and end of the day which can amount to 30 minutes unpaid work.

Channel 4 filmed undercover at JD Sports’ Rochdale base, the Kingsway Business Park, which supplies all of its shops across the UK as well as fulfilling online orders. The report claims that the retailer and an agency that supplies its workers, Assist Recruitment, operate a “three strikes and you’re out” policy”, with strikes given for trivial infringements such as having chocolates or chewing in their possession.

“It’s twice as bad as it was at Sports Direct, it’s as simple as that,” Mr Wright, told Channel 4. “If the supervisor doesn’t like the look of your face you could get a strike. It seems to be as a means to controlling the workers, and a means of coercing people into doing quite undignified things.”

Assist Recruitment hires workers on zero hours contracts which guarantee no work, pay the minimum wage of £7.20 per hour and allow the company to get rid of them instantly, Channel 4 said.

JD Sports became Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer in September after it reported record profits, up by 66 per cent in the first 6 months of this year. In the same period Sports Direct, which has faced heavy criticism for its own working conditions has seen its profits plummet.