Controversial businessman Mike Ashley is raising his fired staff salary to 100% this month, saying things are better than expected as he prepares to open his stores on June 1.
After criticizing the fact that he had asked employees to return to work during the leave, to try to pay reduced prices for inventory and initially refused to close his stores, the Sports Direct boss revealed that all staff full salary for April and May.
In a video message, he gave a “special shout” to employees in the company’s expansive warehouse who continued to work on online orders throughout the pandemic.
Controversial businessman Mike Ashley is raising his layoff staff’s salary to 100% this month, saying things have turned out better than expected as he prepares to open his stores on June 1. In a video message, he thanks the staff for continuing to work despite the closure
And the billionaire said he hoped that workers and their families would remain safe and healthy in these “very uncertain times.”
Ashley, whose stores include Sports Direct and House of Fraser, acknowledged the “ sacrifice ” all employees had to make by accepting initial pay cuts, including a reduction in executive salaries to a maximum of £ 40,000.
But in a more optimistic tone, he hopes Fraser Group stores will open from June 1 – with appropriate social distance and safety guidelines.
And he praised the group’s online sales teams, most notably the warehouse staff at the company’s large Shirebrook warehouse in Derbyshire, which has continued to operate throughout the shutdown.
He wrote, “The Frasers Group is nothing without its people, and thank you all for your continued support and hard work.
“I want to thank everyone who committed to the revised salary. We are in extremely difficult times and we know that this sacrifice was not easy to make. ‘
After criticizing the fact that he had asked employees to return to work on their leave in an attempt to pay discounted rates for inventory and initially refused to close his stores, the Sports Direct boss revealed that all staff full salary for April and May
But he added: ‘Although the retail landscape remains uncertain, we now notice that we have a bit more clarity.
The previous Sunday, the government announced its plans to restart the economy, including their proposal for the phased reopening of stores.
‘Although not guaranteed, it looks like we can start opening our stores from June 1, 2020.
“If this is the case, we are prepared for all social distance and safety guidelines that the government has drawn up.”
Ashley, who is worth £ 1.949 billion according to the 2020 Sunday Times rich list, continues that all staff will receive 100 percent of their salary by May, just as they would for April, including those who have been laid off.
He wrote: “That is why I am happy to write to you today to inform all direct employees of Frasers Groups that we will not make any salary cuts before May.
“Our people receive their full expected salary, such as in April. This applies to both leave and non-leave employees.
“We are proud that we were one of the few retailers to pay 100 percent of their salary during this period.”
And in a video accompanying the letter, Ashley commends the hard work of his staff, particularly those at Shirebrook’s headquarters in Derbyshire.
He said, “Morning everyone, I hope everyone is fine and the family is fine. Just to thank for all your efforts during this unpleasant crisis.
Ashley, whose stores include Sports Direct and House of Fraser, acknowledged the ‘sacrifice’ that all employees had to make to accept initial salary cuts, including the reduction of executive salaries to a maximum of £ 40,000
“A special shout out to Shirebrook. I tell you they did an absolutely fantastic job.
“Thank you everyone and I hope to see you soon.”
Ashley was severely criticized at the outbreak of the pandemic in March when he promised to keep his Sports Direct stores open, claiming that it is essential to sell sports and fitness equipment during the closure.
But the billionaire made a U-turn less than 24 hours later after Cabinet Minister Michael Gove misread the decision, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that “sportswear is not essential.”
All store employees were then put on leave.
However, online sales of Sports Direct and other Fraser Group sales continued to exist.
Ashley came into the limelight again in April when he sent a bomb letter to suppliers asking for a 20 percent discount on unpaid invoices for inventory.
And his Fraser Group received new criticism earlier this month when managers asked staff to return to work while on leave.
Staff were asked to go to closed stores and pack the stock so that it could be sold online.
At the time, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allowed companies to claim 80 percent of the government workforce, but it stated that employees cannot be asked to work during this time.