Coronavirus: GMB calls for ASOS warehouse deep cleaning

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image captionThe Asos warehouse employs about 4,000 people on the site of a former coal mine near Barnsley

A union has called for the closure and deep cleaning of a fashion retailer's warehouse after reports workers had tested positive for Covid-19.

The GMB union has written to the co-founder of ASOS with concerns about its depot at Little Houghton, near Barnsley.

The union claimed safety measures were "insufficient".

ASOS said there was "no evidence to suggest these cases were contracted in the warehouse".

In his letter to Nick Robertson, GMB organiser Will Dalton accused the company of "putting profits before people".

He wrote: "The measures that you have put into place within the warehouse are insufficient and do not provide protection to workers.

"Additionally ASOS's threats to take disciplinary action against workers who fail to comply with the social distancing rules make no allowance for where those rules cannot be physically adhered to inside the warehouse."

The letter called on the company to "temporarily close your warehouse at the very least to do a deep clean and take actual steps to make the workplace safe".

'Safe place to work'

The online fashion retailer employs about 4,000 people at the depot.

It said there had been nine confirmed cases and the warehouse "remains a safe place to work".

An ASOS spokesperson said the percentage of the team affected was "significantly lower" than the national average and for that of the Barnsley metropolitan area, within which the site is based.

They added: "Of the people affected, close to half had not been on site for more than two weeks before testing positive for the virus, and all have self-isolated at home, in line with government guidance.

"As the health and wellbeing of our staff is our number one priority, we are maintaining our social distancing protocols, which in many areas exceed the latest Government guidelines issued this week, and communicating regularly with staff, the recognised union, community, and the environmental health officer, who has visited the site and verified our approach numerous times over the past six weeks.

"Since these cases came to light, we have proactively contacted the local environmental health office to provide a detailed briefing on the situation."

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