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Sports Direct and Direct Golf owner criticised

The owner of Sports Direct and Direct Golf, Mike Ashley, has been criticised for only increasing the pay of his workers by 15 pence an hour.

Ashley announced the rise – which came into effect on the first day of 2016 – following criticisms of the company’s working conditions for staff. The rise takes pay from the minimum £5.30 an hour to £5.45 for people under 21. Wages for workers over 21 will rise to £6.85 an hour from £6.70.

Unite’s regional officer, Luke Primarolo, said: “This pitiful promise by Sports Direct to pay just over the minimum wage should not distract from the Victorian work practices.”

The Government will introduce a living wage of £7.20 for people over 25 in April. Sports Direct staff in this age bracket will subsequently be paid £7.35 an hour. Sports Direct has around 20,000 staff in the UK and it is estimated that 15,000 are in zero-hours contracts.

The retail giant invested money into Direct Golf last year but, following reported accountancy irregularities, insolvency procedures began and the business and assets were sold to an entity controlled by Sports Direct.