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News Report Page 16 of 18
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Usdaw welcomes Parliamentary support for union recognition at Boohoo

SHOPWORKERS' trade union Usdaw has welcomed the cross party MPs' report into fashion industry sustainability, which has recommended that online clothes retailer Boohoo recognises Usdaw as the union for their staff.  The report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee concluded:- "We recommend that Boohoo engage with Usdaw as a priority and recognise unions for its workers."  Usdaw has run a sustained campaign for recognition at Boohoo, so that the union can fully represent members, but the company has so far declined to engage. Usdaw activists recently held a successful action day outside the company's Burnley warehouse, which has over 3,000 staff and is the area's largest employer.

Mike Aylward - Usdaw Divisional Officer says:- "We are pleased that MPs listened to our evidence that countered Boohoo's assertion that there was no demand for union recognition and we welcome their recommendation for the company to engage with us as a priority. It is shameful that large companies like Boohoo won't recognise Usdaw, even when their employees welcome it. Our members at Boohoo are unhappy with the company's position and want Usdaw's support in raising and resolving workplace issues. Boohoo staff want the peace of mind that trade union membership offers, alongside a recognition agreement. We hope that the company will now listen to this cross party committee, as well as their staff, and we look forward to opening talks with Boohoo in the very near future."

House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee; Interim Report on the Sustainability of the Fashion Industry; Para 28:- "At our evidence session with retailers, we questioned the joint Chief Executive, Carol Kane, about union recognition within Boohoo. She told us that Boohoo would recognise a union 'if the workers would like it' but that 'there does not currently appear to be a demand for our workers in our Burnley warehouse to require a union'. Following this session, the union, Usdaw, provided a written submission contesting Boohoo's evidence. This included a timeline dating back to January 2017 outlining 23 recruitment and awareness activities for Boohoo's Burnley staff and written communications to Carol Kane and Boohoo's HR Director to secure union recognition for Boohoo workers. Overall, it is clear that despite Carol Kane's assertion to the committee that Boohoo is open to recognising a trade union to represent their workers, the company has, over a prolonged period of time refused even the most basic level of engagement with Usdaw and appears hostile to the very idea of recognising a trade union. We recommend that Boohoo engage with Usdaw as a priority and recognise unions for its workers."

½ of young drivers admit to being in a car with someone not belted up

½ of drivers aged 18 to 24 admit to being in a car with someone not belted up in the past year, according to new research by Brake, the road safety charity. Young drivers are nearly 3 times more likely to be in a car with someone who isn't belted up compared to all drivers and more than 8 times more likely than drivers over 65. These findings come from a survey of 2,000 drivers, commissioned by Brake and launched on the anniversary of seat belt wearing 1st being made mandatory in the UK, 36 years ago 31 January 1983.

These findings follow on from statistics released by the Department for Transport in 2018, which showed that 27% of the 787 car occupants who died in 2017 were not wearing seat belts. That equals 212 lives which potentially could have been saved if a seat belt was being used, more than 4 every week. Most concurringly of all, these statistics showed a 7% rise on 2016 (20%), indicating that non-seat belt use is increasing.

Brake volunteer, Jeremy Williamson, from the Wirral, has 1st hand experience of the devastation that can be caused by not wearing a seat belt. 20 years ago, 4 of his friends were involved in a car crash. Tragically, 3 of his friends were not wearing seat belts and were all killed, whilst the 1 car occupant who did wear a seat belt survived. Tragedy struck Jeremy once again recently, when his brother was killed in a car crash after crashing into a tree on a rural road; he too, was not wearing a seat belt. Following these devastating losses, Jeremy has put his energies into running his own business, educating young drivers on key road safety messages.

Brake believes that the answer to the growing problem of non seat belt use lies in the safe system approach to our roads, where vehicles are designed to eliminate risk through technology. European legislation is currently being passed which will make seat belt reminder systems for all seats in new cars mandatory from later this year. This move was backed by 8 in 10 drivers in the survey, who stated that seat belt reminders should be required to be fitted for all seats in a car. Notably, younger drivers were less likely to support seat belt reminders in all seats, compared to older drivers, further indicating a potential lack of understanding of the importance of the seat belt in the younger generations.

Commenting, Josh Harris, director of campaigns for Brake said:- "Seat belt wearing became compulsory almost 40 years ago and so it comes as a real shock to hear ½ of young drivers admit they've been in a car with someone not belted up in the past year. We know seat belts save lives and yet there are still 4 people a week who needlessly die on our roads when not belted up. Soon we will see seat belt reminders made mandatory on all seats in new cars; a great step forward. Unfortunately, we've found that young people are most exposed to this issue and they are far less likely to be purchasing new vehicles. We need the government to target safety campaigns at the younger generations to make sure they hear loud and clear that seat belts save lives. Ultimately every death on the road is preventable but a death of someone not wearing a seat belt could so easily be avoided."

Commenting, Brake Volunteer Jeremy Williamson said:- "I would not want anyone to go through the terrible experiences that I have; words can't describe what it was like to attend my best friends' funerals, on consecutive days, nor the complete devastation of losing your brother in a road crash. No 1 should die on our roads, certainly not because they weren't wearing a seat belt, and that is why I work so hard now to educate young drivers. My friends and my brother would likely still be here if they had been wearing their seat belts, so I can't stress enough how important it is to buckle up before you set off"

More North West firms are planning to create new jobs this year as confidence held steady despite economic uncertainty

MORE North West firms are planning to create new jobs this year as confidence held steady despite ongoing political and economic uncertainty, according to January's Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. Companies' confidence in their business prospects rose by 2 points to 29% in the 1st month of 2019, while firms' optimism in the wider economy dropped by 1 point to 11%. Together this gives a robust overall confidence reading of 19 per cent, which is unchanged from the end of in 2018. Businesses' hiring intentions showed that a net balance of 15% of businesses in the Region expect to hire more staff during 2019, up 2 points on last month. This uptick comes despite a net balance of 13% of companies in the North West saying they felt that the UK's exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity. This compares with a net balance of 8% that thought it was having a positive impact a month ago. Across the UK, overall confidence rose 2 points to 19% as firms' optimism about the economy climbed 3 points to 10%. Companies' confidence in their own prospects edged up 1 point to 27%. The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both Regionally and nationwide.

Martyn Kendrick, Regional director for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:- "It's great to see that, at the start of 2019, North West companies are increasingly optimistic about their own prospects for the year ahead and are putting that confidence into action by planning to create new jobs.  This is particularly encouraging given the backdrop of continued uncertainty domestically and falling global demand. The swing from 8% feeling the UK's exit from the European Union was having a positive impact on their expectations for business activity in December, to 13% saying it's having a negative impact this month, just goes to show what a changeable business environment local firms are operating in.  Whatever the year brings, we will be by the side of businesses. As well as offering practical support and advice we have committed to lending ₤1.3 billion to North West firms in 2019 to help them deal with any opportunities or challenges that lie ahead."

Regional picture:-

Businesses in London showed the most confidence, at 36%, ahead of the West Midlands (31%) and the South East (23%).

Those in Scotland and the North East were the lEast confident, with an overall confidence of just 1%, 18 points below the national average.


The construction and manufacturing sectors had both the highest confidence (30% and 28% respectively) and the strongest hiring intentions (26% and 30% respectively).

Meanwhile, the retail (14%) and services sectors (19%) had both the loWest confidence as well as the weakest hiring intentions (9% and 8% respectively).

These pictures were also reflected in the sectors' views about the impact of Brexit. Net balances of 15% (services) and 13% (retail) expected the UK's exit from the EU to have a negative impact, compared with just 3% in manufacturing. A net balance of 9% of construction firms expect it to have a positive impact.

Hann-Ju Ho, senior economist, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking commented:- "Despite businesses ending 2018 on a low, it's good to see that, across the UK as a whole, they've started the year on a slightly more positive footing. The results for the manufacturing and construction sectors are particularly encouraging and we hope the picture will improve further as we move into February and beyond, if geopolitical uncertainties subside."

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