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XPO Logistics rebuffs claims of worker mistreatment

03 October 2016

Online news firm Buzzfeed carried out an investigation into the Barnsley warehouse of online fashion retailer ASOS, which is run by XPO Logistics, claiming poor treatment of workers.

Union GMB backed the report.

Neil Derrick, GMB Regional Secretary, said: “These reports show that employment at ASOS is not only stressful, invasive, and deeply exploitative but is also hazardous to workers’ health. Ignoring the concerns of GMB members has now become downright dangerous.

“Health and safety issues, round the clock, in-your-face surveillance, impossible targets and unfair contracts have created a damaging, anxiety-ridden workplace and our members have been under the cosh for too long.

“GMB calls on the Business Select Committee to investigate these incidents as a matter of urgency before any more harm can be done to the workforce at ASOS.”

The logistics firm strenuously denied the allegations.

An XPO Logistics spokesperson commented: "We are disappointed that false allegations continue to be made about the Barnsley warehouse. It is our mission to create a safe and healthy environment and we have an independently elected colleague forum in place to ensure we are maintaining these standards.

"To correct the record, the number of comfort breaks an employee takes is not a factor in evaluating performance. We are also fully compliant with the national minimum wage and national living wage, and do not employ anyone in our warehouses on a zero-hours contract. We invited the independent public body ACAS to review our annualised hours scheme before we implemented it and were met with approval.

"We are incredibly proud that over the last two years we have created close to 600 new jobs in Barnsley. The wellbeing of the team working in Barnsley is very important to us. As such, we have an onsite occupational nurse, a physiotherapist and have recently invested £3m in a cooling project to improve temperatures in the warehouse during the summer period."

The Barnsley warehouse has created 567 new jobs over the past two years (XPO is now the largest private employer in Barnsley), including a paid apprenticeship program run in conjunction with Barnsley College.

It has invested heavily in the warehouse working environment, including: 

·         £3m in a cooling project to improve temperatures in the warehouse during summer periods

·         Subsidised, serviced restaurant

·         Internet access for all colleagues on site

·         Relaxation area, sofas, pool tables and vending machines

·         Part-time shifts for working parents and students

·         Paid day off if rostered day falls on the employee’s birthday

·         Regular HR surgeries held across all shifts

·         Regular meetings that solicit input from all colleagues about potential facility improvements.

It is also involved with European Apprentice Erasmus+ Mobility, Business & Education Together – with 40 Apprentices on site.