MIKE Ashley has been accused of showing ‘complete contempt’ for USC workers made redundant following the firm entering administration.
Fergus Ewing, Holyrood’s Business Minister, spoke of his ‘extreme concern and disappointment’ at the conduct of Sports Direct, Ashley’s firm that acts as parent company to the clothing chain.
USC went into administration earlier this month, with 88 staff made redundant at the company’s base in Ayrshire.
Representatives from the Scottish Government attempted to contact chiefs and offer support to employees but were unsuccessful, leading to questions over Ashley’s suitability to own Rangers.
Officials from PACE - the Scottish Government initiative designed to offer advice to redundant workers - attended the warehouse at Dundonald following unsuccessful attempts to get in touch with company bosses, but were denied access to the site for several days.
Adam Ingram MSP, whose constituency takes in the Dundonald base, said Ashley had shown ‘complete contempt’ for his workers.
He told the Daily Record: “He’s got £10 million in his pocket to try and take control of Rangers but he won’t pay his workers wages they are due or make any redundancy payments.
“He’s refused to respond to the minister when he’s been trying to get help for the workforce, who only found out they were losing their jobs when nine Sports Direct container lorries arrived to strip the warehouse of stock.
“It’s deplorable behaviour and calls in to question whether Mike Ashley is a fit and proper person to own a football club according to the SFA rules.
“He is not someone I would want taking over any Scottish institution given how he’s treated these workers.”
It is believed workers have not been offered redundancy pay from the firm, while some employees are still owed money dating back to the middle of December.
Representatives from Sports Direct neglected to return phone calls from leading Scottish Government officials.
Despite Mr Ewing writing to the Newcastle United owner and requesting an immediate response, the Business Minister received just an acknowledgement of his letter.
Republic - another of Mr Ashley’s subsidiaries - has already bought USC from administrators.
And earlier this week, Mr Ashley made £117 million after selling a 2.6 per cent stake in Sports Direct.
Mr Ingram lodged a motion at Holyrood condemning Mr Ashley’s actions and calling on him to ensure workers are paid what they are owed, and has secured the support of 22 other MSPs.
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