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Net-a-Porter staff vote to bring in GMB union

Hundreds of distribution staff working in a Net-a-Porter south London warehouse have won the right to be represented by GMB, Britain’s general union.

After applying to the central arbitration committee in 2018, workers in Charlton who pick and package for the online business, which is part of the global Yoox Net-a-Porter group, will now have union representation in workplace matters.

Net-a-Porter and the union have entered into a period of negotiations to agree terms, following a "secret ballot” by the retailer's staff to push for support.

GMB said the arrangement marks a move beyond traditional retail and distribution sectors and into online retail for the union, adding that it is “the union for modern workplaces”.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, commented: “Net-a-Porter workers should be proud of the courageous move they have taken to stand up and be counted.

“They now have GMB on their side every day in their mission to win better terms and conditions at work for themselves and their colleagues. We’re showing how in new, emerging, digital economies, unions are as relevant now as they have ever been.”

She added: “This young, dynamic workforce voted overwhelmingly to bring GMB in – they know a trade union is not a luxury but a vital tool in winning fairness and dignity at work.

“We’re looking forward to getting round the table with Net-a-Porter to discuss how a democratic voice for workers will make real improvements in the workplace and aid the success and sustainability of the business.”

As GMB talks up its new retail representation at Net-a-Porter, senior figures from the union are due to come up against Asda in court today (13 May) as the legal dispute between supermarket and union over pay disparities continues.

It is the latest instalment of a dispute that began in 2016, when GMB brought claims from 17,000 workers to the Employment Tribunal and won. The dispute centres on a reported disparity in pay between in-store workers and distribution centres at the grocer.

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