A large number of Sports Direct employees are still waiting for back pay as part compensation into being paid under the minimum wage.
MP’s were told by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee that Transline, one of the employment agencies at the heart of a Guardian investigation last year looking at staff from the retailer being paid less than the minimum wage, had refused to pay back any monies owed.
In August last year Transline agreed to paying back workers at a cost of up to £1 million, with some workers owed over £1,000 in back pay. The payments were to be backdated to May 2012.
However, unions expressed concerns at the time that Transline would renege on the deal before it took over contracts from a rival agency, Blue Arrow, in 2014.
Addressing the BEIS, Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of the Unite union, told MPs that Transline had refused to pay the back payment for the non payment of national minimum wage for the period of employment that employees had before Transline took over the contract, refusing to honour the transfer of undertakings regulations (known as Tupe) as a result.
“This is a huge issue,” commented Turner. “This is hundreds and hundreds of pounds for thousands of workers, where Best Connection, the other agency, has honoured the agreement and paid in full. Sports Direct has paid in full. But one agency, Transline, has decided it’s not going to do that.”
A spokesperson for Transline responded “All back payments have been made to Transline employees over the period in question (2014-2016). For those employees that worked for Blue Arrow and then transferred to Transline, we have been working with HM Revenue & Customs and are awaiting their guidance on how Tupe applies to the period that those employees worked for Blue Arrow. We will act according to their feedback as soon as this is received.”
Blue Arrow has yet to provide a comment.
In a letter to the BEIS committee last September, Transline said that it had undertaken a full review to make sure its “operations are fully compliant.”