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Employment agency Transline, staff supplier to Sports Direct, faces administration

Conditions at the companies Shirebrook warehouse have been compared to those of a Victorian workhouse

Transline, the temporary employment agency that became embroiled in the Sports Direct scandal, has submitted court documents preparing the company for insolvency. The Transline Group said it was suffering due to “tighter margins in the recruitment industry”.

A spokesman for the agency said it was appointing administrators to protect its “business, employees and customers”.

Last year, a Commons committee raised concerns over the working conditions at Sports Direct’s main Shirebrook warehouse and compared it to ‘those of a Victorian workhouse’. It also follows the firm being axed last month from supplying temporary warehousing staff to the world’s largest retailer Amazon, and comes two weeks after the company announced that Colin Beasley – who was the majority shareholder when the group founded – had left its board.

The firm will have only 10 days to find a solution to its financial problems.

MPs criticised the agency after it gave evidence at a Commons committee inquiry in 2016, saying their testimony “lacked credibility”.

A Transline spokesperson said: “We are close to securing inward investment that will allow us to drive forward with continued growth and infrastructure development.

“We expect to hear more regarding potential trading investments imminently.”

Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of the union Unite, said: “The current uncertainty surrounding Transline’s future is yet more evidence of the need for Sports Direct to wean itself off its over reliance on temporary agency workers at its Shirebrook warehouse. Sports Direct must urgently move to put agency workers onto permanent contracts to bring security to the workforce and certainty to the business.

“Transline must not be allowed to dodge its responsibilities or the back pay it owes for non-payment of the minimum wage at Sports Direct. It must continue to pay the wages of the tens of thousands of low paid agency workers it currently employs across the UK. A failure to do so would be the final insult for the many workers it has exploited through its draconian work practices.”

Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley recently agreed to an appointment of a workers’ representative to the firm’s board in an attempt to improve the company’s image.

Mr Ashley said he would walk away from the company if he failed to rectify it.

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