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Shadow Business Minister Bill Esterson MP adds his voice to Usdaw's campaign for recognition at Boohoo

Date: 19 July 2019 Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed the support of Bill Esterson MP, Labour - Sefton Central and Shadow Business Minister, for the union’s campaign to secure recognition at online clothes retailer Boohoo. The shadow minister’s backing came after he met an Usdaw delegation and is a further boost for the union’s campaign.
Mike Aylward - Usdaw Divisional Officer says: “We are grateful to Bill Esterson for giving our delegation a hearing and offering his support for our members and all workers at Boohoo. The company is coming under increasing pressure to do the right thing and we hope they agree to engage with us.
 
“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.
 
“Usdaw’s campaign continues until Boohoo listens to reason, listens to our members and listens to a growing list of supporters: The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee of MPs, the Ethical Trading Initiative, local MP Julie Cooper, Burnley Council and now the Shadow Business Minister.”
 
Bill Esterson MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Ministers says: “Boohoo have certainly been found wanting in respect of giving their workers the chance to speak with one voice.
 
"In 2018, the Environmental Audit Committee, chaired by my Labour colleague Mary Creagh MP, recommended that Boohoo engage with Usdaw on this. Yet we keep hearing that Boohoo has failed to do this.
 
"The company wants to be seen as an ethical trader, but this means treating workers in the UK fairly as well as ensuring overseas operations are up to scratch.
 
"Boohoo staff deserve to be properly represented in pay talks and other negotiations with their employer. They should be given the option to join the union and certainly should not be discouraged.”
 
Usdaw’s campaigning continues at Boohoo’s Burnley online fulfilment centre and Manchester head office on Thursday 25, Friday 26 and Monday 29 July when Julie Cooper MP (Labour, Burnley) is meeting the company. Further dates are planned for Thursday 1 and Friday 2 August.
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
Ethical Trading Initiative statement: “We are in discussions with Boohoo about membership, the formal approval of which would be taken at an ETI board meeting. While we adopt a process of continuous improvement a key expectation ETI has of its members is an open attitude towards the activities of trade unions, enabling effective representation and ideally for workers to bargain collectively. Any new membership application would be reviewed by ETI’s board to ensure that the
company demonstrated such commitment.”
 
House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee - Interim Report on the Fixing fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability: A cross-party MPs’ report into fashion industry sustainability specifically recommended that Boohoo recognises Usdaw as the union for their staff. The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee said: “We recommend that Boohoo engage with Usdaw as a priority and recognise unions for its workers.” https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/1952/1952.pdf
 
A Boohoo worker contacted Usdaw to explain how the company are responding to the union’s ongoing campaign for recognition: “I work for Boohoo and all staff were told that when leaving work at 6pm there would be union reps outside wanting to talk to us. We were then told that we should not speak to anyone and if given any leaflets we are to just put them in the bin. I thought you would like to know what it is they are up to, that no matter what they say to you they don't want a union and will do whatever they can to stop it from happening, even make staff feel like they will lose their jobs over it. Please keep my name out of it, I am only telling you because what they are doing is wrong.”
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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