Wellbeing & Benefits

JD Sports is launching an investigation into working conditions at its Kingsway distribution centre after a report by Channel 4 found workers complaining it was “worse than a prison”.

The retailer said it was “disappointed and concerned” at the Channel 4 News footage, adding it was not an “accurate reflection of our culture”. However, JD Sports said it would begin an investigation of the Rochdale site.

The report alleges that workers can be sacked after three minor misdemeanours. It says that incidents that can lead to a “strike” against a worker include sitting down, chewing gum, being late or having a mobile phone.

The Channel 4 News report also claims that employees are not paid for queuing outside the Kingsway distribution centre and that workers on zero-hours contracts are sometimes sent home if JD Sports determines that there is not enough for them to do.

Workers paid ‘in full’

JD Sports employs 1,232 workers at the site, which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a combination of employees and agency staff from Assist Recruitment. Kingsway supplies all of JD Sports’ stores in the UK and most of those abroad, as well as fulfilling online orders.

The retailer said it “categorically” did not operate a “strike” policy and that employees could not be sacked on the spot.

It also said: “Our time and attendance system is specifically designed to ensure that all workers are paid for the time it takes to exit any queue on leaving the site, and we pay all employees in full who are up to 15 minutes late on arrival.”

However, it added that its employees were “vital” to the business and that it took the allegations seriously.

It said: “As a result, we will undertake to conduct a review of all our policies, their communication and implementation at the site, with the clear aim not only to continue the improvement of the facility, but also to think about the future structure of employment at the site for the benefit of all the people employed at Kingsway.”

Rival sportswear retailer Sports Direct has also come under fire for working conditions at its Shirebrook warehouse.

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