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Burnley councillors overwhelmingly back the Usdaw campaign to be recognised as the trade union for Boohoo workers

Date: 11 July 2019 Retail trade union Usdaw has welcomed the overwhelming support of Burnley councillors, as they backed a motion to last night’s full council meeting urging online clothes retailer Boohoo to engage with the union.
The motion, tabled by Cllr Mark Townsend, Labour group leader, states: “This Council calls on Boohoo, Burnley's largest private sector employer, to respond positively to the recommendation of the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee report into fashion industry sustainability that they ‘engage with Usdaw as a priority and recognise unions for its workers’.”
 
Mike Aylward - Usdaw Divisional Officer says: “We are grateful to Burnley’s councillors for their support for our members and all workers at Boohoo. Burnley council now adds their name to a list of organisations, including the Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee and the Ethical Trading Initiative, who are calling for Boohoo to engage with Usdaw. I will be seeking a meeting with the council to see how we can make their newly adopted policy a reality.
 
“Usdaw’s campaign continues until Boohoo listens to reason, listens to our members, listens to a cross-party committee of MPs, listens to the Ethical Trading Initiative and now listens to Burnley Council. It is time that the company agreed to meet with Usdaw to discuss a sensible way forward.”
 
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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