Burnley Labour leader calls on Boohoo to engage with union Usdaw

Boohoo, Burnley
Boohoo, Burnley

The former leader of Burnley Borough Council has called on Burnley's biggest employer Boohoo to give union recognition to its workers.

Burnley Labour group leader Coun. Mark Townsend has called on the online fashion retailer to honour the recommendation of the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee that they 'engage with Usdaw as a priority and recognise unions for its workers'.

As revealed in the Burnley Express the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) continue to experience difficulties in establishing trade union recognition discussions with Boohoo.

Coun. Townsend has now tabled a motion to Burnley full council urging online clothes retailer Boohoo to engage with the union, which is set to be debated and voted on next Wednesday.

He said: "The major investment that Boohoo have made to bring jobs to Burnley over recent years is welcome. Its rapid growth has resulted in it becoming the largest private sector employer in the borough and with that now rest the aspirations and prosperity of many Burnley families. It is important therefore that Boohoo workers are appropriately represented in the workplace.

“It’s disappointing that to date the company has so far not engaged with Usdaw to build a relation of partnership and common interest as recommended by MPs in a recent report into the fashion industry.

“The Labour Group on Burnley Council fully support the Usdaw campaign to gain union recognition for Boohoo workers and we recognise the concern of the many Burnley residents who have signed the petition. I hope all members of the council will support the motion and get behind the campaign.”

Usdaw will be campaigning outside the full council meeting, asking councillors to support the motion, which starts at 6-30pm on July 10th at Burnley Town Hall. The union will also be presenting a petition, which has been signed by several thousand members of the public.

Mike Aylward, Usdaw divisional officer, said: “We are grateful to Coun. Townsend and the Labour group for their support for our members and all workers at Boohoo. We hope their motion to full council will secure unanimous support from councillors. It is absolutely right that the council concerns itself with the ethical trading standards of businesses in the borough.

“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.

“Usdaw’s campaign continues until Boohoo listens to reason, listens to our members, listens to a cross-party committee of MPs and listens to the Ethical Trading Initiative. I have written to Boohoo suggesting the company agree to meet with us in an attempt to understand each other’s opinion and to make this into a positive story of partnership and working together in that spirit.”