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Boohoo faces Commons pressure over Usdaw meeting refusal

Online fashion retailer Boohoo, is coming under pressure from chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee MP Mary Creagh, as it again refused to meet for talks around its ethical trading standards.

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) is the fifth largest trade union in the UK with 420,000 members, most of those being in the retail industry.

The trade union announced an action day against the retailer today (7 June_ at three locations, Boohoo HQ on Dale Street in Manchester, Burnley town centre and Boohoo warehouse on Widow Hill Road in Burnley.

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

“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 progress have you made to recognise trade unions within your supply chain in the UK and overseas?”

Mike Aylward, Usdaw divisional officer, added: “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. 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.

“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.”

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