• Staff paid below minimum wage still owed their money
  • ’This is a huge issue’, union claims

An employment agency working on behalf of Sports Direct has not honoured a deal to pay back money owed to staff, it has been claimed.

Trade union Unite’s assistant general secretary Steve Turner told MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee that the Transline agency was refusing to honour wages that remain unpaid since before it took over contracts from Blue Arrow in 2014, The Guardian reported.

The agency was included in a deal last year to pay employees about £1m in back pay after it emerged that some staff at Sports Direct had not received the legal minimum.

“This is a huge issue. This is hundreds and hundreds of pounds for thousands of workers”

Steve Turner, Unite

The payments were to be backdated to May 2012 but union officials expressed concern that Transline would refuse to refund unpaid wages from before it took over contracts from a rival agency, Blue Arrow, in 2014.

Turner told the MPs: “Transline have refused to pay the back payment for the non-payment of national minimum wage for the period of employment that employees had before Transline took over the contract.

“So they are refusing to honour the transfer of undertakings regulations [commonly referred to as Tupe].

“This is a huge issue. This is hundreds and hundreds of pounds for thousands of workers, where Best Connection, the other agency, has honoured the agreement and paid in full. Sports Direct has paid in full.

“But one agency, Transline, has decided it’s not going to do that.”

A Transline spokesperson told The Guardian: “All back payments have been made to Transline employees over the period in question [2014-2016]. For those employees that worked for Blue Arrow and then transferred to Transline, we have been working with HM Revenue & Customs and are awaiting their guidance on how Tupe applies to the period that those employees worked for Blue Arrow.

“We will act according to their feedback as soon as this is received.”