Feb 18, 2015
Sports Direct's Ashley set for public grilling over USC collapse
Feb 18, 2015
LONDON, United Kingdom - Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley has been called to give evidence before a parliamentary committee regarding the role played by Britain's biggest sporting goods retailer in the treatment of workers at its fashion chain USC.
Ashley, the owner of Newcastle United soccer club who last gave a press interview in 2007 and who never speaks in public, has been called to appear alongside other senior management before the 11 members of parliament that make up the Scottish Affairs Committee.
The cross-party committee is examining the treatment of workers at USC's Scottish warehouse, who were made redundant when administrators were called into a Sports Direct controlled business that owned 28 USC stores last month.
The administration had been prompted after fashion brand Diesel took action over an unpaid bill.
The stores were then bought out of administration by another Sports Direct fashion subsidiary, Republic, and continue to trade but workers at the Ayrshire warehouse who lost their jobs have said they were not properly consulted before being let go.
"The Scottish Affairs Committee is investigating how employees in small businesses are treated when big bosses decide to shut down a company or sites," Ian Davidson MP, chairman of the Committee, said on Wednesday.
"We are now inviting USC and Sports Direct management, and Mike Ashley, as the directing influence of this group, to meet with the Committee," Davidson said, adding it would also look for evidence on USC's use of zero hour contracts.
The Committee intends to take the evidence in March.
Sports Direct, which has 420 UK sports stores and 270 more across Europe, as well as its fashion and brands arms, has been criticised for putting the majority of its part-time workforce on zero hour contracts, which offer no guaranteed work or pay.
Sports Direct declined to comment.
Select committees have little power but they are taking an increasingly high profile role in British life due to their ability to call public figures for televised questioning.
Other executives to appear in recent years include bank bosses during the financial crisis, energy bosses and media tycoon Robert Murdoch and members of his family during the phone hacking scandal.
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