An undercover Channel 4 News investigation has revealed conditions at a JD Sports warehouse to be "worse than a prison". Channel 4 News sent undercover reporters into the firm’s huge distribution warehouse in Kingsway, Rochdale.The Kingsway Business Park site in Rochdale is believed to supply all JD Sports stores in the UK and abroad and currently employs around 1,500 workers, operating 24 hours a day.
The expose, broadcast on 14 December 2016, discovered some policies were "twice as bad as Sports Direct", which has famously been shamed for what has been described as a "Victorian" approach to staff.
At JD Sports, three "strikes" would lead to dismissal and a "strike" could include anything from sitting down, being one minute late, or having chewing gum or sweets.
Workers are employed through an agency called Assist Recruitment on zero-hours contracts and paid at minimum wage. There is also evidence of workers arriving on site only to be told to go home because there is no work.
In addition, workers are not paid for the extensive, airport-style security checks they must endure before and after their shifts, which can take up to 30 minutes a day.
Iain Wright MP, Chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, told Channel 4 News: "I think there is a cultural and structural issue in Britain. We treat our low paid workers in this country like scum. We don’t give them any dignity or respect. And I think it is an absolute disgrace that in this country you are on minimum wage and struggling to make ends meet, that you’re frightened you might lose your job and that you might not have an opportunity to go to another job. And yet you are shouted and barked at like a dog."
JD Sports said in response: “We dispute that we operate anything other than a normal business disciplinary process at Kingsway. No member of security or supervisory staff should be using the emotive language of ‘strike’. Assist are responsible for the disciplinary process of their own staff."