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Boohoo claims ring hollow after the company instructs staff to ignore Usdaw reps and bin their leaflets

Date: 11 June 2019 Retail trade union Usdaw continues their campaign for recognition at online clothes retailer Boohoo, despite the company telling all staff not to speak to Usdaw reps outside the Burnley site and to put union leaflets in the bin.
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.”
 
In the evidence they gave to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee last November, Boohoo committed to union recognition “if the workers would like it”. Last week it was reported that Boohoo told the media that they “meet frequently with our teams to understand their level of interest in union representation. At the most recent meeting held to discuss this matter, just last month, there continued to be no interest from our teams.”
 
Mike Aylward – Usdaw Divisional Officer says: “This account of what Boohoo management are up to is shocking and a direct contradiction of the statements they have made in the media and to MPs. Boohoo want to convince everyone that they are an ethical trader, but they appear to be actively opposing their staff having a voice through an independent trade union.
 
“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.
 
“Boohoo staff clearly know that what managers are doing is wrong and they fear for their jobs if they speak out. This behaviour is a throwback to a Dickensian employer of 1819, rather than a modern ethical trader of 2019. We have received fantastic support from Boohoo employees asking us to keep up the campaign for recognition, which is simply at odds with what the company is saying.
 
“Usdaw’s campaign continues until Boohoo listens to reason, listens to our members and listens to the cross-party committee of MPs. Further to our campaigning activities of last week we have been inundated with support from the public signing our petitions asking for the business to meet with union representatives.
 
“I have written to Boohoo suggesting the company agree to meet with us in an attempt to understand each other’s opinion and to make this into a positive story of partnership and working together in that spirit.”
 
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 420,000 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.
 
House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee Report - Fixing fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability – Para 43: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/1952/1952.pdf
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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