Asos has denied allegations made by Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith that conditions at its warehouse are similar to those of Sports Direct, which has recently been criticised for its poor working practices.
Smith said he was “concerned” over conditions at Asos’s warehouse in Barnsley, which is run by XPO Logistics.
He has asked Iain Wright, chairman of the business, innovation and skills committee, to start an inquiry into working conditions there.
“I also understand staff are being employed on what are effectively sub-zero hour contracts, where workers face little to no notice of the hours they’re expected to work,” Smith said. “And where staff are turning up to work only to be told they’ve got no allocated hours.
“I know you’ll agree with me that these practices have no place whatsoever in any workforce and they need rooting out. I am concerned that the company is the new Sports Direct.”
A spokeswoman for Asos said: “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.
“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.”
Asos invited Smith to visit the warehouse, to which the MP said: “I would be more than happy to visit and talk to workers there myself.”
A spokeswoman for XPO said it strives to ensure a “best in class” working environment, adding: “In addition to extensive, ongoing employee training, we also have made physical investments in a cooling air project for the summer months.
“We believe that the best way to continually improve the working environment is to collaborate directly with our colleagues and we have had an employee forum in place for over four years for this purpose.
“In addition to paying above the minimum wage, XPO does not employ anyone in the warehouse on a zero-hours contract.”