A forthcoming review of working practices at Sports Direct will no longer be carried out by its legal adviser, RPC, the British retailer announced today.
Corporate and insurance firm RPC, which has offices in London and Bristol, was due to lead the retailer’s ‘360-degree’ review of working practices and corporate governance.
However, an update published by Sports Direct International Plc today states the review will now be led by an independent party.
The update states: ‘The board has made this decision after listening to shareholder feedback at the recent AGM/Open Day and during subsequent consultation with a number of the company’s longstanding shareholders via the Investor Forum.
‘RPC will continue to be a valued legal adviser to Sports Direct, and the board would like to thank RPC for its work on the existing Working Practices Report, which was compiled to the highest standards.’
Publishing a report on employment practices at Sports Direct in July, the Commons Business, Innovation and Skills committee said deputy executive chairman, founder and majority shareholder Mike Ashley (pictured) must be held accountable ‘for the appalling working conditions and practices at the retailer’s shops and at the Shirebrook warehouse in Derbyshire’.
Committee chair Iain Wright MP said: ‘Whistleblowers, parts of the media and a trade union shone a light on work practices at Sports Direct and what they revealed was extremely disturbing.
‘The evidence we heard points to a business whose working practices are closer to that of a Victorian workhouse than that of a modern, reputable High Street retailer.
‘For this to occur in the UK in 2016 is a serious indictment of the management at Sports Direct and Mike Ashley, as the face of Sports Direct, must be held accountable for these failings.’
The company responded to this initial criticism by pledging to abolish zero-hours contracts for directly employed casual retail staff.
In today’s update, Sports Direct International Plc announced that a selection process for a workers’ representative on Sports Direct’s board will be made through democratic staff elections.