The union of shop, distribution and allied workers (Usdaw) with help from MP Mary Creagh is stepping up its campaign for recognition at online retailer Boohoo after it refused to meet for talks on ethical trading standards.

The retail trade union is holding action days at three of the fast-fashion retailer’s sites – Boohoo’s headquarters in Manchester, Burnley town centre and the Boohoo warehouse in Burnley.

An inquiry held last year by the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, led by Labour MP Mary Creagh, called for a change in the law to incentivise fashion retailers to operate sustainably and punish those that do not.

In a letter to Boohoo co-founder Carol Kane, Creagh said: “I am writing to you following media reports that Usdaw 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?”

Creagh also asked for an update on Boohoo’s progress on recognising trade unions across its supply chain in the UK and overseas, and whether the online retailer planned to join the Ethical Trading Initiative, which Kane said the retailer would consider during Creagh’s inquiry last year.


In response to Creagh’s query about formally engaging with Usdaw, a spokesman for Boohoo told Retail Week: “As we have previously stated, our priority is to understand the views and opinions of our teams and what their wishes are in regards to this matter.

“We have high levels of employee engagement through our employee forum and various employee initiatives, including share incentive schemes, bonus schemes and subsidised canteens and great on-site leisure facilities which have resulted from this engagement.

“We meet frequently with our teams to understand their level of interest in union representation. At the most recent meeting held to discuss this matter, just last month, there continued to be no interest from our team.

“We will of course continue to source their views and monitor this closely.”