It’s not just in India or Bangladesh that workers are treated poorly, paid badly and their health and well being is an inconvenience. In the UK successive governments have stripped workers of rights to take action against their employers since the 1980s. I wonder if Cameron and Osborne are going to restore them? Or perhaps Johnson and Gove?
My Newcastle supporting mates have long complained about Mike Ashley’s ownership, he has two relegations under his belt, but he was only able to buy the club due to getting rich with his Sports Direct company. Last year the Guardian newspaper did an undercover investigation about working conditions which caused a parliamentary select committee to call him to answer questions about his business.
He responded by describing the members as a ‘joke’.
He then said he would only attend if they first accompanied him on a tour of his factory in north Derbyshire.
Facing being found in contempt of parliament and disqualified from being a company director he turned up yesterday.
He appeared shocked by the information presented to him. Either he knew what was going on and he is responsible. Or he didn’t and he’s incompetent. Yesterday he tried to persuade us that he was the latter.
This is what he didn’t appear to know;
- that workers were being searched in their own time, with long waits, meaning they were paid below the minimum wage. That is not just unfair. It is illegal.
- that new female workers were described as ‘fresh meat’ by male managers who would sexually harass them.
- that one of his female employees was so scared about taking time off sick that she gave birth in staff toilets.
- that paramedics were called 76 times in two years to see to staff, he tried saying that managers were sometimes overreacting and they should have given them a glass of water instead.
The Trade Union, Unite, has tried to address issues with him. Ashley rates himself so highly that he has stated ‘I can do a better job for the workers than Unite’.
Things I recommend; Ashley’s company to be forced to pay back stolen money to workers who could be fined 15 minutes pay for being 1 minute late to clock on.
For them to be fined and punished severely to send a message to other employers that such practices are unacceptable.
Things I don’t recommend; giving the middle finger. To parliament,
to workers and to the rest of us.