The negative publicity surrounding Sports Direct’s treatment of its warehouse staff, must not be allowed to tarnish the reputation of the logistics industry by making firms in the sector appear unattractive employers, says Peter Ward, chief executive officer of the UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) – the leading trade body for the supply chain sector.
Sports Direct has featured prominently across the media throughout the summer months after the working conditions at one of its warehouses were described as being closer to "that of a Victorian workhouse than a modern High Street retailer."
“It would be easy to conclude that the media storm surrounding Mr Ashley and the treatment of the workforce at his company’s distribution centre, will have negative ramifications for the whole logistics industry,” Peter Ward comments.
He goes on: “While no doubt there will be some people who now perceive logistics to be a poorly paid, low-skilled industry where people spend their days being mistreated in cold, dirty warehouses, the reality is quite the opposite.
“The pay, working conditions and long term career prospects of staff across all levels of the industry compare very favourably with other markets and the truth is that the logistics industry is a dynamic place to be at the moment.
“Logistics is the ‘new retail’ and the rapid growth of e-commerce (and Amazon in particular) and the transition of traditional warehouses to fulfilment centres are just two of the factors impacting on the way the sector operates.
“It is essential that logistics grabs the attention of our brightest school and university leavers and UKWA is working hard to encourage more young people to enter the industry as a conscious career move.
“There are positive signs that our efforts are paying off and the Sports Direct debacle will not de-rail this progress.”