Workers’ rights campaigners rally in Chesterfield as Sports Direct chief denies a court charge

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Workers’ rights campaigners gathered outside Chesterfield magistrates’ court where the chief executive of Sports Direct, which has its main base in Shirebrook, was due to have his case heard in connection with the collapse of the group’s fashion retailer USC.

Staff at a USC Dundonald warehouse, in Scotland, were allegedly given 15 minutes’ notice that they would lose their jobs.

Unite union and Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centre campaigners rallied for Sports Direct staff outside Chesterfield magistrates' court where the company's chief executive faces a court charge.

Unite union and Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centre campaigners rallied for Sports Direct staff outside Chesterfield magistrates' court where the company's chief executive faces a court charge.

Sports Direct Chief executive David Forsey’s case was heard at the court today, Wednesday, October 14, and adjourned until March 14 for a three-day hearing concerning USC which is also known as West Coast Capital.

The 49-year-old, of Haybridge, in Prestbury, Macclesfield, stands accused as an officer or director of West Coast Capital of failing to notify authorities of plans to lay off warehouse staff in Scotland.

He pleaded not guilty through his legal team to failing to comply with trade union regulations between January 4 and 14 by failing to notify the Secretary of State at least 30 days before a dismissal of staff took place.

Mr Forsey, who is a FTSE 100 chief, is the boss of the UK’s biggest sports chain, which is owned by billionaire Mike Ashley.

Co-accused and administrator Robert Palmer, of West Coast Capital Limited, also pleaded not guilty to the same charge but relating to different dates between January 12 and February 5.

Neither defendants were present at court but were both represented by their legal teams.

Campaigners from the Unite union and the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers Centre attended the court out of concern for Sports Direct staff and in protest against the company’s zero-hours contracts.