If you think Sports Direct treats people badly, take a hard look at the DWP


Someone at The Independent just earned their pay for the week!

The online-only news outlet is to be praised for making the connection between Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, where employees were sanctioned for arriving one minute late for work, and the Department for Work and Pensions as run by Iain Duncan Smith and Stephen Crabb, where benefit claimants were sanctioned for getting a job.

Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s shadow minister for people with disabilities, was definitely the right person to contact about these nonsense sanctions.

Alternatively, if you want to know more, you could type “DWP” or “Iain Duncan Smith” or “PIP” or “ESA” or the benefit/sanction/minister of your choice into the Vox Political search engine, as This Blog has covered the whole sordid saga very thoroughly.

Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley appeared before the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee yesterday, sparking a wave of dismay and surprise across social media about a number of illegal or immoral practices he admitted his business had taken part in.

One of the many revelations mentioned a previous policy of docking staff 15 minutes of pay for arriving just one minute late, although Ashley was apparently at a loss to know how this policy had come into existence, saying, “I honestly don’t know how that policy started. If my kids were subject to that rule I would say it was unfair.”

Anyone who has been in contact with the Department for Work and Pensions, however, might find such a policy very familiar. The principle of excessive punishment for trivial ‘offences’ has been happening at the DWP since the coalition began their ‘welfare reforms’.

There are well-documented cases of people who have been sanctioned for senseless reasons, including one case where a claimant’s wife went into premature labour and he had to miss an appointment to rush to hospital with her – so subsequently had his benefits docked – and a man who was sanctioned because he was hit by a car and in hospital for two weeks. According to Debbie Abrahams MP, a man with heart problems was sanctioned after he had a heart attack during a work capability assessment and therefore couldn’t complete it. Elsewhere, a man who had found himself a job was sanctioned for not looking for another role during the two weeks he had to wait for his job to start, and army veteran Stephen Taylor had his benefits stopped after selling poppies in memory of fallen soldiers.

Source: Sports Direct docked 15 minutes of workers’ pay for turning up one minute late – but the DWP is worse


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9 thoughts on “If you think Sports Direct treats people badly, take a hard look at the DWP

  1. joanna

    Mike I need your help on how to respond to a comment someone made to me? He said everyone is capable of doing some type of work no matter what their disability, I know he is wrong but how do I respond to that? The more I fight such opinions the more I feel like I am wasting my breath and the more I feel like there is nothing to go on for! I don’t have anything in my life anyway.
    I am trying to go to college, but I have been told that I have to pay for it (basic courses) I was totally robbed of my education when I was a child because I was in care! I have also tried to get a voluntary job at Dove House Hospice and Age UK, I have been rejected from both of those because, they have enough people being sent to them from the DWP! Now I am thinking what is the point, what was the point of remaining a law abiding citizen? My life just seems so hopeless, I am merely existing!!!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You could ask them about their own experiences of disability. Have they discussed this with experts? Have they met disabled people who cannot work? Or are they just happy to trust their own judgement, no matter how limited the information on which it is based?

  2. John Mangan

    This is the Department run, until very recently by the So-Called Iain Duncan Smith (real name George Smith) now reinventing himself as the sharing, caring, conscience of the Tory Party. His policies, which continue even though he’s gone, have killed thousands. In fact, it got so bad that in 2011, when his own statistics said 11000 had died on his watch, he took decisive action. He banned anyone getting hold of the statistics! So only God knows how many people this fanatic has killed now.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Wrong. I fought that ban and won, last year.
      Now the issue is that they don’t collect the right statistics.

  3. Dez

    Totally agree DWP should be next in front of a parliamentary committee to explain themselves, and their deadly cowboy contractors culling who their masters regard as the lesser mortals of the UK. This should include their pathetically paid unemployed working groups who are totally exploited. At least Mike Ashley of Sports Direct was refreshingly honest in his spivvy answers unlike the mealy mouthed yopping banking suits who lied and squirmed in their seats when asked why they had screwed and ruined the UK. I recall them responding that their mega bonus and salary payments had nothing to do with their rampant behaviour and the collapse of their banking businesses…..which the general population is still paying and sufferring for their greed.

  4. Justin Greenwood

    this whole department needs to be shook up, the consistent targeting of vunerable adults by people who qualifications are dubious, the fact that they have had a review of the wca process by professors and they have said it is not fit for purpose, but is the best that they have got, the fact that charities have raised concerns about the assessors and there qualifications appertaining to the role being not fit for purpose, the fact that they have unscrupulous recruitment procedure that beg the question that is a assessor allowed to do there job or told there not failing enough people and maybe subject to a disciplinary thereby making them take shorts cuts or by the fact that there medical is a policy by greed sorry payment by results, there should be mandatory reviews of any cases that go to tribunal to see if the assessor has made mistakes, these reviews should include mandatory reporting to the professional body, there should be independant spot check inspections with experts by experience working alongside the inspection teams and when flaws in report highlight individuals further spot checks to see if there carrying out due diligence in there role and not making 20k a month, not filling out assessments properly taking confidential photographs of client records to prove there case (ch4 dispatches Northampton office) for example and this no doubt will not be the only one. There should also be legal responsibilities from wca assessor through to decision maker and beyond, if the dwp are quite happy to quote this part of the law and that part of the law then perhaps they should also devote some of that time to looking at when there in breach of the law, hopefully the scottish police will decide there is a case to answer against ids and con, that will be the start of the demise of this procedure and hopefully bring down the structure around such a ill conceived and ill thought out idea. to also add to this are they saving any money

    cost of tribunal 5k?
    cost of person being re-admitted to hospital minimum 1k weekly plus long term treatment
    saving to dwp 30 pounds a week,my name is not George, I also am good at maths and don’t have a 2:1 in social history, with the figures i have just shown i have just seen a extreme expense that needs to be reigned in because departments have a incompetent policy and incompetent people doing the role.

  5. james torrance

    i served an apprenticeship 1956-1971 and every factory including b.m.c. bathgate operated this system also if it was an overtime day first corresponding amount of time was bare rate

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