Transline Group, one of the employment agencies at the center of the Sports Direct scandal, has been barred from supplying temporary storage staff to Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer.
Transline workers deployed to five of Amazon’s 12 UK warehouses are to be transferred to two rival employment agencies over the next few days and weeks in the latest blow to the recruitment group which was denounced by the Guardian in December 2015 for failing to pay his workers at Sports Run the National Minimum Wage.
The decision, which was made in recent days, will affect Transline workers at two sites in Doncaster plus one in Peterborough, Swansea and Dunfermline. It’s unclear how many workers are affected, but the employment agencies benefiting from the change would be Adecco and PMP.
An Amazon spokesperson said, “We do not comment on our supplier relationships.” However, the decision to replace Transline was confirmed by an anonymous insider, who said the agency was ruled out as part of a routine review.
The move will be seen as Transline’s biggest setback since the Sports Direct revelations. The revelations sparked a parliamentary inquiry by the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, which concluded workers at the sportswear retailer’s ‘Victorian workhouse’ were being treated ‘without dignity or respect’ .
Transline, which supplied around half of Sports Direct’s 3,000 warehouse workers at the time of the scandal, has also been accused of misleading MPs during the inquiry, prompting the committee’s chairman, the MP Iain Wright, to call on Sports Direct founder, Mike Ashley, to focus the business.
In a letter to the controversial billionaire, Wright wrote: ‘We ask that you give serious consideration to continuing to use Transline, a company which treats its employees and conducts its business in a manner inconsistent with your own aspirations for Sports Direct to be on tied with Selfridges and John Lewis.
Transline, which has denied ever misleading parliament, provides significantly fewer workers to Amazon than to Sports Direct because the former uses a smaller proportion of temporary workers.
Transline confirmed it still provides Sports Direct, but did not respond to invitations to comment specifically on its contract with Amazon.
The investment firm is one of the biggest in its industry and also counts other big names among its clients, including retail chain Argos and online fashion group Asos.
Many large retail companies use temp agencies, especially during peak periods, as it gives them the flexibility to hire more staff to meet increased demand.
Transline was co-founded in 1989 by Paul Beasley, 50, and Jonathan Taylor, 48.who, along with a third director, 49-year-old sales boss Mark Elms, each owned 5% of the company when it last released details of individual shareholders in April 2016.
The remaining 85% stake in the business was then held by Beasley’s father, Colin, 72, who remains the majority owner of the business, which has a turnover of nearly £230m in 2015.