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GMB slams Asos double standards on warehouse workers

04 January 2017

A ‘huge disparity’ in the employment conditions offered to staff at the London HQ of online retailer Asos and its Yorkshire warehouse staff has been criticised by the GMB.

The union commented after Asos this week announced plans to create 1,500 jobs in its London HQ just days after GMB held a ‘catwalk of shame’ outside the Asos AGM in protest at conditions for warehouse workers in Yorkshire.

Announcing the new London jobs, Asos chief executive Nick Beighton said: “Our people are what make Asos special. We are creating a workspace that fosters creativity, where they can enjoy what they do.” GMB said London-based staff seem to enjoy perks - including long weekends during the summer and lavish parties complete with ferris wheels and fairground rides - while the company has come under fire for poor working conditions in its distribution centre.

Reports from the South Yorkshire site have pointed to excessive monitoring of workers, multiple security checks each day including when entering and leaving the toilet, the use of flex contracts that leave staff unsure how many hours they will work each week and a reliance on agency work (Risks 774). Neil Derrick, GMB Yorkshire regional secretary, said: “The company's growth is on back of workers in their Yorkshire warehouse, yet there seems to be a huge disparity between how Asos staff in London and workers in Yorkshire are treated. Conditions in Barnsley are frankly shocking and have caused the GMB grave concern over the past two years.” He added: “If Asos want to provide 'fashion with integrity' as they claim, working with us to make their Yorkshire site a decent place to work would be a start.”