Asos has stepped forward and firmly refuted allegations made by MP Owen Smith concerning poor working conditions in its warehouse in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
The Labour leadership candidate penned a letter to MP Ian Wright, chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee, calling for a parliamentary inquiry into Asos warehouse, claiming working conditions were so poor it could be “the new Sports Direct.” The allegations concerning working conditions at the warehouse, which include sub zero hour contacts, random searches and invasive surveillance, have been fully denied by Asos.
Asos denies allegations concerning working conditions in its Barnsley warehouse
“We were surprised to see these allegations from Owen given that it was the first we had heard from him and he’s never been inside the warehouse,” said a Asos spokesperson to FashionUnited. “We work incredibly hard with XPO to create a positive, supportive, healthy working environment for the team in Barnsley. As we have now said on the record several times before - we don’t do zero hours contracts, people can take toilet and water breaks whenever they want, and we pay above minimum wage.”
The claims come in spite of Asos being recently named the UK’s most reputable fashion retailer by the UK RepTrak list, which ranks high street retailers’ reputation among the general public and recall those made by the GMB Union last year. The trade union, which is currently one of the largest unions connected with the Labour Party, has made several claims allegedly poor working conditions within Asos warehouses in the past - all which have been debunked by the fashion e-tailer.
An Asos spokesperson added the fashion retailer works together with XPO to ensure they are able to provide a fair working place for all members of staff, noting its warehouse has created 567 new jobs in the area over the past two years, including a paid apprenticeship program run in conjunction with Barnsley College. Asos also highlighted that it has invested heavily in improving its warehouse working environment in Barnsley, citing a 3 million pound cooling system to keep temperatures down in the summer and subsidised services restaurants as two examples.
Photos: Asos, Barnsley Warehouse and London office