Newcastle United chairman Mike Ashley to raise wages at Sports Direct

Mike Ashley
Mike Ashley

Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has pledged to spend £10 million on raising the pay of all the firm's employees to above the minimum wage.

The move follows criticism from unions and in Parliament over the retail giant's pay and employment practices, including the use of zero hours contracts, under which staff do not know how many hours they will work from one week to the next.

It also comes shortly after the board announced Mr Ashley would oversee a review of all agency worker terms and conditions at the company.

The rise, announced in an interview with the Daily Mirror, is likely to most benefit casual workers in its stores and agency staff in its depot.

He told the paper: "I'm making a New Year's resolution pledge to the Daily Mirror - and I'm deadly serious. I want to see Sports Direct become the best high street retail employer, after John Lewis.

"I realise this is ambitious and it won't be easy but I believe as a FTSE 100 or even 250 company we have a responsibility to set a high moral standard.

"We're putting our money where our mouth is and have notified the City we will be spending £10 million ensuring all employees are above the minimum wage."

He added that thousands of Sports Direct staff received "life-changing" bonuses each year.

The rise will amount to around 15p an hour meaning workers 21 and above will receive £6.85 per hour and 18 to 20 year olds will be paid £5.45 hourly, the paper said.

There are around 4,300 agency workers employed in Sports Direct's warehouse, while the company employs around 28,000 staff across the UK and Europe.

Sports Direct posted half-year results showing a 3.6% rise in underlying pre-tax profits for the six months to October 25.