Union steps up campaign for recognition at fashion giant Boohoo

Boohoo distribution and customer service centre in Burnley

Retail workers union Usdaw is stepping up its campaign against online fashion firm Boohoo.

The Manchester firm has been criticised in the past for failing to recognise unions at its warehouse in Burnley

Usdaw said the company has this week again refused to meet and is persistently blocking Usdaw, despite a recommendation from a parliamentary committee.

A cross-party MPs’ report into fashion industry sustainability specifically recommended that Boohoo recognises Usdaw as the union for their staff.

Usdaw has run a sustained campaign for recognition at Boohoo and is stepping up the activities with an action day this Friday.

There will be demonstrations at Boohoo head office on Dale Street in Manchester and in Burnley town centre.

Mike Aylward, Usdaw divisional officer, said“Boohoo makes some pretty bold statements about ethical trading, but when it comes to giving their staff a voice through an independent trade union they are found wanting.

“Ethical trading isn’t just about checking the terms and conditions of workers in the supply chain, as important as that is, it’s also about ensuring Boohoo’s directly employed staff are treated with dignity and respect.

“MPs listened to Usdaw’s evidence that countered Boohoo’s assertion that there was no demand for union recognition and we welcomed the recommendation for the company to engage with us as a priority, but the company continues to decline to engage.

“It is shameful that big companies like Boohoo, the largest private sector employer in Burnley, won’t recognise Usdaw. Our members are unhappy with Boohoo’s position and want Usdaw’s support in raising and resolving workplace issues.

“Boohoo staff should be allowed to speak for themselves, directly to Usdaw, and not have the company make statements on their behalf. Management claims that staff do not want a trade union is not correct. Our members working in Boohoo tell us that they want the peace of mind that trade union membership offers, alongside a recognition agreement.”

Last year MPs on the environmental audit committee condemned the fashion industry for its record on poor pay and conditions.

Boohoo co-founder of Boohoo Carol Kane told MPs she would allow union recognition at the firm’s distribution offices in Burnley if workers wanted it.

But the Usdaw said Boohoo has rebuffed months of repeated attempts to start recognition discussions.

In evidence Ms Kane said: “On unions, we do not currently have a union in our Burnley warehouse.”

She said the company had an employee forum, and it would recognise a union “if the workers would like it, yes, of course”, but added that there did not appear to be a demand.

In a previous statement, Boohoo said: “Listening to the views and opinions of our team has always been a core part of our philosophy, which is why we have our employee engagement forum, Your Voice, which has been running for five years.

“As we have previously stated to Usdaw, we are consulting with our team with regards to their interest in meeting with a union and these conversations are ongoing.”


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