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GMB Tells ASOS "Treat Your Workers With Respect"

Friday, October 7, 2016


“These are our people, not machines” says union as fresh BBC exposé follows Buzzfeed investigation

GMB, Britain’s general union, today called on fast fashion retailer ASOS to do "far better" to address concerns over working conditions in its Barnsley distribution warehouse, which is run by global logistics giant XPO. The call came after the company made a series of changes to workplace arrangements this week.

Workers at the Barnsley warehouse are represented by GMB, which has been running a campaign at the warehouse - the site of the old Grimethorpe colliery – since August 2015 supporting and recruiting members at the gates, and sponsoring the roundabout outside the site.

The union is coupling work in the ground with a digital campaign calling on ASOS bosses to treat workers with respect -

The union met with XPO on 16 September. Following a GMB letter to Ken Perritt, XPO Supply Chain Director at the site on Tuesday 20 September demanding the "cessation of flexing up and flexing down" of working hours, an XPO memo was circulated on Friday 30 September to workers at the site announcing changes to working practices.

The changes come after a Buzzfeed investigation into ‘The Real Cost of ASOS’S Fast Fashion’ which revealed workers' claims of exploitative contracts, an overbearing security regime, and stress in the workplace.

The XPO memo announced that the company would remove the use of "same day flex" arrangements – meaning that all requests to vary employees’ working hours would require a minimum of twenty four hours’ notice – and reduce probationary periods from 6 months to 3 months from Sunday 2 October 2016.

GMB said the concessions showed the company was “on the ropes” following its campaign but has failed to do enough to address the concerns.

The union called on the employer to recognise GMB's role in representing site workers and address concerns over working practices, contracts, targets, and surveillance.

Business Innovation and Skills Select Committee Chair Ian Wright MP last week confirmed that investigating the claims would be part of a new Committee inquiry on the ’Future World of Work’, following a call from GMB to investigate.

Neil Derrick, GMB Regional Secretary said:

“This is about respect and dignity for workers - these are our people, not machines. Our battle to defend our members' rights in Barnsley has got this company on the ropes."

"The end to same day flex arrangements and prolonged probation periods this week are significant U-turns and a testament to our hard fought union campaign. But this does not end here - our members deserve far better than this."

“We're calling on the company to recognise GMB's role in representing workers at the site and to open immediate negotiations on a review of current working practices and targets. We need to see invasive and oppressive surveillance and search policies ruled out, as well as an end to reliance on agency contracts."


Contact: GMB press office 07958 156846 or


Respect ASOS Workers (GMB) -

Asos warehouse contracts 'exploitative', says committee chair MP -

The Real Cost of ASOS'S Fast Fashion -

Asos Has Told Staff It Is Changing Contracts Following Workers’ Allegations -


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