Boohoo under fire from Parliament after refusing to recognise Usdaw

Boohoo update
// Boohoo refuses to meet with Usdaw reps over ethical trading standards
// Usdaw enlists help of MP Mary Creagh to put pressure on Boohoo
// Trade union now holding action across three of Boohoo’s sites

Fast fashion retailer Boohoo has come under scrutiny from chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee MP Mary Creagh after it refused to meet for talks around ethical trading standards.

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers is stepping up its campaign for recognition at Boohoo, after the union claims the retailer has not kept its commitments to meet union representatives.

Now the retail trade union is holding action days at three of the fast fashion retailers’ sites, across the Boohoo headquarters in Manchester, Burnley town centre and the Boohoo warehouse in Burnley, where it is the town’s biggest private sector employer.

“I am writing to you following media reports that the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) continue to experience difficulties in establishing trade union recognition discussions with Boohoo,” said Creagh in a letter to Boohoo joint chief executive Carol Kane.

“This is contrary to the evidence you gave to my Committee last November where you committed to union recognition ‘if the workers would like it’.” Creagh added.

“As you will be aware, in our final report we recommended that Boohoo engage with Usdaw as a priority and recognise unions for your workers. I would therefore be grateful if you could tell me what steps you have taken to engage with Usdaw regarding formal trade union recognition at your Burnley warehouse site?

“When will formal recognition be forthcoming? What other progress have you made to recognise trade unions within your supply chain in the UK and overseas?” asked Creagh.

“Boohoo want to convince Parliament that they are an ethical trader, but when it comes to giving their staff a voice through an independent trade union they are found wanting,” said Usdaw divisional officer Mike Aylward.

“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,” he added.

“MPs listened to Usdaw’s evidence that countered Boohoo’s assertion that there was no demand for union recognition and we welcomed the recommendation for the company to engage with us as a priority, but the company continues to decline to engage. Maybe Boohoo thought MPs would forget about their recommendations following the publication of their report, but that clearly is not the case,” said Aylward.

In April Boohoo revealed bumper annual profits with overall revenues up 48 per cent to £856.9 million in the year to February 28, while pre-tax profit jumped 38 per cent to £59.9 million.

Turnover increased 37 per cent at home in the UK and 64 per cent in international markets.

Boohoo said it expects revenue growth over the next 12 months to be 25 per cent to 30 per cent.

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