What a difference 48 hours of pressure makes. Sports Direct – who were caught paying their staff less than the minimum wage – now have nowhere to hide. It looks like they’ll be officially investigated by the government. 
That’s thanks in part to a huge storm kicked up by 38 Degrees members. Just two days ago, the government department responsible for the minimum wage (HMRC) were reluctant to crack down on Sports Direct. But yesterday, they bowed to our huge public pressure and responded publicly to 38 Degrees members. 
But Sports Direct will want to cover this up as fast as they can. So let’s make sure that HMRC start their investigation immediately – before Sports Direct bosses can wriggle out of it. Government departments like HMRC are sensitive to what MPs think. So if MP after MP demands the investigation starts right now, HMRC will have to clamp down on Sports Direct before Christmas.
No workplace in the UK should be compared to a ‘workhouse’ – this is 2015, not 1815. Together, let’s make sure companies like Sports Direct don’t get away with it.
More pressure is the last thing Sports Direct want – so let’s keep it up. Can you email your MP to demand that the investigation starts now? Sending your message will take less than two minutes and there’s some suggested text to help. Click below to email your MP directly:
We don’t know exactly what happened behind the scenes at HMRC and Sports Direct yesterday, but here’s what we do know:
- 38 Degrees members sent over 65,000 emails to HMRC staff demanding they investigate Sports Direct’s illegal pay immediately.
- 38 Degrees members followed their emails up with hundreds of phone calls to HMRC.
- Thousands of 38 Degrees members tweeted at HMRC – and even faxed over their concerns too.
- After a couple of panicked phone calls with the 38 Degrees office team, HMRC promised they’ll investigate all claims of people being paid less than the minimum wage.
- And at Sports Direct, CEO Mike Ashley has agreed to officially address the accusations.  He might not have the welfare of his staff at heart – but he’s clearly feeling the pressure.Thanks for being involvedPS Every email we send to our MPs makes it more likely that Sports Direct will be investigated sooner.
- https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/email-mp-sports-direct NOTES  Government response: HMRC responds to petition from 38 Degrees: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hmrc-responds-to-petition-from-38-degrees Guardian: Sports Direct: Mike Ashley to oversee review of agency staff’s conditions: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/18/sports-direct-mike-ashley-to-oversee-review-of-agency-workers-conditions The Guardian: Revealed: how Sports Direct effectively pays below the minimum wage: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/09/how-sports-direct-effectively-pays-below-minimum-wage-pay  Government response: HMRC responds to petition from 38 Degrees: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hmrc-responds-to-petition-from-38-degrees  The Telegraph: Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley to lead review into working conditions: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/epic/spd/12057378/sports-direct-employees-zero-hour-contracts-criticism.html
The 38 Degrees team