ASOS defends working conditions as profits climb 37%

Online fashion retailer ASOS has responded to union criticism over its working conditions after recording a 37% rise in annual profits.

Profit before tax rose to £63.7m from £46.4mn a year earlier, in line with analysts’ expectations.

ASOS said this was driven by a strong performance in retail sales in the UK, the US and the EU, with revenue up 26% across the board.

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The retailer has recently come under fire from GMB, the union for ASOS workers, and the media over working conditions at its main warehouse in Barnsley.

The concerns were echoed by Iain Wright MP who – as chair of the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee led the inquiry into conditions at Sports Direct – has pledged to investigate.

GMB last night accused ASOS of “coining it in” while agency workers worry whether they’ll get enough hours to pay their bills.

Neil Derrick, GMB regional secretary, said: “We’re seeing a familiar story play out – massive profits for those at the top, made on the back of poor pay, terms and conditions for those making ‘fast fashion’ a reality.”

“We’re simply asking ASOS to treat the people who keep their warehouses moving with a bit of respect – that can’t be too much to ask in the 21st century.”

Responded to the criticism, ASOS chief executive Nick Beighton told Sky News: “Contrary to what has been alleged, we do currently pay above the National Living Wage for all employees and are committed to migrating towards the living wage foundation level over the next 18 months.

“We do not use, and have never used, zero-hours contracts.”

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