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[英伦广角] 2016-09-10 纽卡斯尔投资商SportsDirect就工作环境丑闻公开道歉

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The billionaire founder of Sports Direct demonstrating the improve security check his name warehouse. Casually taking out the wallet a 50-pound notes, in a place where his payment is under scrutiny, for zero-hour contracts and paying below the national minimum wage.

This one time occlusive Mike Ashley was all smiles with cameras, while leading journalists and investors on a rare tour on the Warehouse floor, pointing out the changes he’s making after a series of scandals surrounding paying conditions.

“But when you ask me my sorry, so I said ‘yes, I’m sorry’, I mean I’m sorry.”

But the company’s investors want changes at the very top management, 53% voting for the chairman Keith Hellawell to go. His position is safe only because Mike Ashley, the majority shareholder wants him to stay.

“Keith Hellawell knows my strengths, he knows my weaknesses, and we are beginning to learn some of the company’s weaknesses together. So we are gonna fix it. Please give us 12 months to fix it. What difference is in 12 months? We’ve done some good work in 90 days -- so let’s do some fantastic work in the next 12 months. And if we failed? I’ll be stood here, he would be stood here in a year’s time, facing your TV cameras, saying: ‘I’m sorry. I got it wrong again’. When is this ever going to end.“

Despite the overwhelming opposition from shareholders, Mr. Hellawell says he’ll only quit this time next year if investors are still unhappy.

“You represent investors at Sports Direct. We suppose yesterday you were planning to vote against the chairman Keith Hellawell. How did you vote and how did you feel with the result?”

“We believe it’s time for Keith Hellawell to step down.”

“And what if it doesn’t happen?”

“If it doesn’t happen, you know, we only have so much power, and what we can do is to use the power as much as we can and seek to influence the board.”

For the most part of the day, Mike Ashley was engaging under apologetic, trying to show how much he cares. But there’s still one big issue that needs to be addressed. And that’s the 4,000 agency staff the working site this Sport Direct Warehouse who are not benefiting from some of the measures to improve working conditions.

“Well, there’s still employment X zero-hour contract, and that’s unacceptable. And the proposal to transform X to direct employment X ten months means 20 IDs will still be transformed apparently.”

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley is still under pressure to make real change, but he says he’s confident he can turn it around. All he needs is a year.

Charlotte Lomas, Sky News, Shirebrook in Derbyshire.
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