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IWGB Calls for #BoycottASOS as up to 70 Key Delivery Workers Face Redundancy

09 April 2020 06:30
  • “We’re being chucked on the scrap heap, facing the abyss, mid-pandemic.”
  • Commercial collusion between ASOS and delivery giants DPD and Hermes seeks to make up to 70 employees redundant, reneging on previous guarantees of job security.
  • Workers are entitled to but have not been offered furlough under the government’s job retention scheme.
  • The IWGB calls for a boycott of ASOS if delivery drivers’ jobs are not guaranteed.

9 April: The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is calling on ASOS to guarantee these jobs will be saved by 30 April. The IWGB wants ASOS to ensure that the drivers who currently deliver its parcels across Central London using electric vehicles, will continue their employment with ASOS’s new delivery partners, DPD and Hermes, when the contract changes hands on 1 May.

Despite having key worker status during the Covid-19 pandemic, these workers now stand to lose their livelihoods and say they don’t know how they will survive and support their families. They are entitled to but have not been offered furlough under the government’s job retention scheme.

In a clear case of corporate collusion in an attempt to circumvent the workers’ legal protections, ASOS, DPD and Hermes are refusing to retain existing drivers in a bid to drive down pay and conditions. The IWGB calculates that the move to ditch up to 70 employees and switch to DPD will save ASOS 25-50% on costs. The money will come from cutting its statutory obligations to its employees, such as sick pay, holiday pay and parental leave.

The IWGB is also demanding that Hermes and delivery giant DPD protect the existing pay and conditions the workers are entitled to retain. This demand is in line with the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) Regulations which exist to protect the jobs, terms and conditions of workers when their contracts are transferred from one company to another as part of a retendering or outsourcing process.

Max Dewhurst, IWGB Vice President, says: “Even during this horrific pandemic, ASOS, DPD and Hermes are undermining the basic rights of drivers who like many key workers, clock in every day to keep the country running, at considerable risk to their health. Now more than ever, they need and deserve financial security and respect for their basic employment rights. Save jobs and stand behind the workers by boycotting ASOS from 9 to 30 April.”

Jakaria Khan, delivery driver, says: “We’re being chucked on the scrap heap. Our jobs were supposed to be safe. We were promised a transfer to DPD, but now we’re all going to be made redundant, with no hope of future employment. We are facing the abyss, mid-pandemic.”

-Ends-

For more information, contact:

Max Dewhurst

[email protected]

Notes

  1. This is another instance of gig economy employers publicising commitments to step up and support workers through the Covid-19 pandemic, while continuing the same business as usual exploitation - with devastating consequences that threaten not only workers’ livelihoods, but also public health. In recent weeks, the union has also exposed how Deliveroo’s widely publicised ‘hardship funds’ were for a time inaccessible to workers, as well as multiple failures to provide key workers with protective equipment, including medical couriers transporting Covid-19 samples.
  2. The contract to deliver ASOS clothing across Central London is currently provided by about 50 drivers and 20 additional staff employed by Gnewt Cargo, a subsidiary of Menzies Distribution, in Gnewt-branded electric vehicles from Menzies's Bromley-by-Bow site in East London.
  3. On 16 March, workers were told they would be transferred - along with the contract - to a new employer, in accordance with the TUPE Regulations. But ASOS reneged on this position and brought in another provider Hermes, in an attempt to undermine the transfer. On 31 March, after receiving an update about this from their existing employer, notice was given that all 70 employees at the Bromley-by-Bow site would face redundancy on 30 April.

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