ASOS staff ‘forced to urinate into water fountains’, claims union

The ASOS distribution centre near Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
The ASOS distribution centre near Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Staff working for online retailer ASOS in Barnsley are being forced to urinate in water fountains - because they aren’t given enough time for toilet breaks, a union has claimed.

The company has launched an investigation into the claims made by the GMB union, which are denied by the logistics firm in charge of the site.

The ASOS plant in Barnsley

The ASOS plant in Barnsley

The GMB say workers at the giant distribution depot are so tightly regulated that there is no time for some to make the 15-minute walk there and back to visit the toilet.

Union officials say this leaves staff with ‘no choice but to use the water stations to urinate in’.

ASOS says there are toilets within four minutes of every point of the warehouse which employs around 4,000 people.

It also says toilet visits are not restricted to break times and staff can to go at any time.

One worker told the Daily Mirror there are areas within the grounds from where it would be a 15 minute round trip to get to the toilets.

He said staff previously had to be briefed that urinating in water fountains and in the aisles was ‘not allowed’.

Deanne Ferguson, GMB organiser, said: “Some ASOS workers are suffering sickening indignity which must stop. ASOS must explain to its employees why they are treating them with such contempt and denying them basic common decency. I now question the company’s ethos and morals after such shocking reports from GMB members.

“ASOS are a UK based company in the heart of an ex-mining community in Barnsley. The people of Barnsley care and will be as disgusted to hear these reports.

“Profit should not come at the price of workers’ right to take a toilet break; neither should it be at the price of poor health and safety.”

Russell Atkinson, a director at XPO Logistics which runs the site, said: “We believe the GMB union is using outdated information in an attempt to boost a recruitment drive and we refute their allegations.

“As an established member of the local community, we are proud to have received Barnsley Council Health and Well-being Award and are currently applying for the National Charter for Workplace Wellbeing.”

An ASOS spokesman said: “ASOS have instructed XPO to look into the matters the GMB has raised as a matter of urgency and should anything need to be addressed, it will be swiftly.”