Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe

Sports Direct Pledges Worker Pay Rise as Ashley Seeks to End Row

  • U.K. company to spend 10 million pounds to raise salaries
  • Pay to increase for store workers, founder Ashley tells Mirror

Sports Direct International Plc said it will spend 10 million pounds ($14.8 million) increasing workers’ salaries as it seeks to end a dispute over its treatment of employees.

Starting Jan. 1, the U.K. retailer will pay staff above the national minimum wage, it said in a statement Thursday. The increase will benefit about 15,000 mainly store employees on contracts that don’t guarantee them a minimum amount of work and 4,000 staff at its warehouse in Shirebrook, central England, the Daily Mirror reported, citing an interview with founder Mike Ashley.

Ashley said this month he will personally oversee a review of the company’s handling of workers at the Shirebrook depot after newspaper reports that mandatory staff searches at the end of shifts meant they effectively received below the minimum wage.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Ashley said he wants to see Sports Direct become the best employer among U.K. retailers after staff-owned John Lewis Partnership Plc.

Sports Direct workers aged 21 and over will see their salary rise to 6.85 pounds an hour from the national minimum of 6.70 pounds, the Mirror said. Those aged from 18 to 20 will get a raise to 5.45 pounds from 5.30 pounds, the newspaper reported.

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