The chief executive of ASOS has published a six-page letter hitting back at allegations of poor working conditions which have grabbed headlines in recent weeks.
Nick Beighon’s open letter was written in response to allegations from trade union GMB, former Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith MP, business select committee chair Iain Wright MP and a recent BuzzFeed investigation.
It comes a day after ASOS staff at the Barnsley warehouse received a letter from XPO – the firm that runs the premises – which detailed plans to improve various aspects of their contracts and encourage employees to raise any issues on the “colleague forum”.
In his letter today, Beighton said ASOS had “nothing to hide” and took exception to “the suggestion that we are secretive and exploit people… we resent the misleading things that have been said about us”.
Wanting the “facts to speak for themselves”, he presented bullet-pointed responses to specific allegations against the online fashion retailer, such as wages, working conditions, security and searches, and its annualised hours system.
The allegations against ASOS have prompted critics to label it as “the next Sports Direct”, in light of how Mike Ashley was dragged before an MP panel to answer questions on the conditions of his own company’s Shirebrook warehouse.
Beighton hoped his letter would “dispel the allegations”, and that while ASOS worked with XPO, the retailer would “never outsource the responsibility for our people”.
“I’m disappointed that inaccurate and misleading things have been said about how we manage our warehouse at Barnsley in Yorkshire,” Beighton wrote.
“We want every single person who works with ASOS directly, or for one of our partners, to have a great experience and feel respected and valued. Where we’ve been able, we have tried to set the record straight, but some misrepresentation continues.
“I lead the ASOS management team so I know how seriously we take our responsibilities as an employer.”
He added: “We don’t pretend to be perfect and we are learning all the time. We learn, re-set and go again. That’s the way we do things at ASOS.”