October 1, 2020

Coronavirus: ASOS denies claims staff are unsafe at work during outbreak

ASOS “totally refutes” claims from a workers union it is risking employees’ safety by not enforcing social distancing measures during the coronavirus outbreak.

GMB union accused ASOS of “playing Russian roulette with people’s lives”.

ASOS told Radio 1 Newsbeat this has “created panic and hysteria in an already uncertain time” about working conditions in its Barnsley warehouse.

The site employs up to 4,000 people, of which 500 can be on-site at any time.

The union had carried out a survey which suggested the majority of staff felt unsafe at work as they were working too close to one another.

The site is a distribution centre for the online clothing store and is on the list of government exemptions that can stay open during the current shop closures.

One ASOS employee told Newsbeat they were “frightened for their families as well as themselves” because workers in the warehouse aren’t able to keep two metres apart, as instructed by the government’s social-distancing measures.

‘Additional health and safety measures’
‘Mike’, who didn’t want to give his real name, worries that people are at risk.

“They don’t want to be taking the virus home and passing it on,” he says.

But in statement an ASOS spokesperson rejected claims that staff are unsafe.

“Since the lockdown, we have introduced a range of additional health and safety measures and the Environmental Health Officer, who visited the site on Friday, confirmed he was happy with the protocols we have in place,” it says in a statement.

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