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Owner makes pledge to staff

Ashley pledges pay rise for Sports Direct employees

Mike Ashley Sky vidSports Direct boss Mike Ashley has agreed to spend £10 million to raise pay for employees above the minimum wage.

The decision comes after the company’s working practices were criticised by trade unions and politicians. Sports Direct refuted many of the allegations, but Mr Ashley is leading a review of the terms and conditions of agency staff, many of whom work to zero hours contracts.

In a statement issued this morning, the board said: Sports Direct International plc today announces that it has made a commitment that its directly employed UK employees and directly engaged casual workers will be paid above the National Minimum Wage from 1 January 2016.

“The cost in relation to these direct employees and casual workers and other related costs and knock on costs are likely to be circa £10m on an annualised basis.”

The announcement came after Mr Ashley told the Daily Mirror in an interview: “I’m making a New Year’s resolution pledge to the Daily Mirror – and I’m deadly serious. I want to see Sports Direct become the best high street retail employer, after John Lewis.

“I realise this is ambitious and it won’t be easy but I believe as a FTSE 100 or even 250 company we have a responsibility to set a high moral standard.

“We’re putting our money where our mouth is and have notified the City we will be spending £10 million ensuring all employees are above the minimum wage.”

He pointed out that thousands of Sports Direct staff receive “life-changing” bonuses each year.

The rise will amount to around 15p an hour meaning workers 21 and above will receive £6.85 per hour and 18 to 20 year olds will be paid £5.45 hourly, the paper said.

The company employs around 28,000 staff across the UK and Europe.

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