Worker dies after catching Covid as workers not given PPE in infected warehouse

07 Oct 2020
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Pregnant women suffer miscarriages, drivers live in lorries for months and worker goes on hunger strike, international group’s document shows

A shock report has revealed that warehouse worker for Asos logistics firm XPO, who died after contracting Covid-19, had been working without PPE in a warehouse where 6 other employees had tested positive for the deadly virus.

Six other employees at the warehouse - which was run by XPO in France and was not connected to Asos- had already tested positive for the deadly virus.

The paper - ‘XPO - Delivering Injustice’ by the International Transport Workers’ Federation - also describes pregnant women miscarrying after being denied lighter shifts, drivers having to live in their lorries for months on end and one worker going on hunger strike over pay.

XPO runs the Asos warehouse in Barnsley, which stayed open throughout the pandemic and despite Government advice failed to enforce social distancing measures in the packed facility.

In March, a survey of almost 500 workers at the site found 98% felt unsafe at work amid the coronavirus crisis.

One worker said they felt bosses where playing ‘Russian roulette’ with their lives.

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said:

“These findings are a disgrace. On the basis of the reports analysis of working conditions, XPO workers across the world – from Barnsley to Barcelona - are being treated like dirt while bosses make a fortune.

“According to this report, the company provides logistics for some of the biggest brands in the world and has almost 100,000 workers, but their business model is based on exploitation, illegal underpayments, and a callous approach to safety.

“They should not be allowed to get away with this.

“GMB and unions across the world are ready to meet with XPO and help keep workers safe and keep the company on the right side of the law.”

Updated: This story was updated on 15 October 2020 to make clear that the deceased employee who died after contracting Covid-19 was employed at XPO’s Fleury-Mérogis warehouse, which is not an Asos site. May she rest in peace. The GMB survey of Asos workers took place in March 2020.

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