Workers at a clothing warehouse say they are still freezing cold in their “absolute nightmare” workplace, two weeks after they said they were told their problems would be solved.
However, a spokesperson for the online clothing company said the firm is seeking to address heating issues at the warehouse.
A current worker at the warehouse, who did not want to be identified, said: “In the last article that was put in the paper they [Oh Polly] said that we were given hats, gloves, scarves, socks and a body warmer.
“In actual fact we got one pair of fingerless gloves the following Monday as they had to be ordered in.
“The company is a complete and utter joke, but it pays my wages at the end of the day.”
When the ECHO reported on Oh Polly last month, the firm said they would sort out their warehouse’s cold conditions, and today insisted they had offered hats, scarves and gloves to staff.
However, according to the worker who spoke to the ECHO , little has changed.
Some workers have even claimed the conditions were making them ill.
A spokesperson for Oh Polly said they were dealing with the heating problems inside the Bromborough warehouse.
They said: “While we wait for British Gas to connect the premises in the coming weeks, all employees have been offered hats, gloves, and scarves.
“In addition, we have brought in several large industrial heaters as a temporary solution to ensure working conditions are more comfortable. We’re aware of some glitches with the temporary heaters and are fixing these as a priority.
“We’ve spent time with all current members of staff to ensure they are happy and comfortable.”
The worker who spoke to the ECHO about her concerns also criticised her own workload, saying: “The Royal Mail and Asda [items] have to be checked over and more often than not most of the clothing is good enough to be resold.
“With bikini bottoms we have a look to see if the hygiene sticker looks clean and if it is we put a clean one on. But because we have to process 20 items of clothing an hour this procedure does get overlooked.
George is Local Democracy Reporter for Wirral.
Follow George on Twitter here
You can read more of his stories here
Email him on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to share any news, stories or updates.
Did you film a great video? Send your footage via What’s App: 07831256877
Keep up to date with the latest breaking news here
“20 items per hour. That’s over 140 items per person per shift and if we don’t hit that target we are then spoken to because we are not working fast enough.”
This level of demand has created a backlog, which she fears may start to grow due to increased demand around Black Friday.
She said: “There are quite a number of pallets still sitting there since August and with Black Friday approaching that’s only going to get worse.
“There’s thousands upon thousands of parcels waiting to be opened.”
A relative of another employee at the warehouse echoed these concerns, telling the ECHO: “The company said that the workers would be provided with hats, gloves, scarves and a body warmer. Well all they got was fingerless gloves which can’t be worn as the bits of them transfer to the clothing.
“Also all the heaters that they got in can only be used with one bar on, if [they] put two bars on then the electricity trips.
“That’s an absolute nightmare when you’re in the middle of processing something on the computer and the electricity goes off and not just once either.”
He added: “There are cages and cages of faulty clothing that is just sitting there waiting to go to landfill. That’s an absolute shame as it could be given to organisations to be repaired and then sold off cheaper.”
One former Oh Polly worker echoed the concerns raised by others at the firm.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “There are three different returns parcels from Royal Mail done every day, but there’s still a backlog. Then there’s the American returns.
“They are sat in huge cardboard boxes on shelves and some are as old as July, it’s now coming to the end of November, so between four and five months they have been sat there.
“I wouldn’t mind if those clothes being returned were clean but most of them are dirty, especially the bikini bottoms. People have even put dirty underwear in with the parcels.”
Oh Polly’s spokesperson refuted the criticism of the company’s returns policy, telling the ECHO : “When clothes are returned to us, we inspect and clean each item and carry out quality control checks before adding the product back into stock inventory to ensure it’s in perfect condition.
“This is an industry standard practice followed by every major retailer in the UK as a way of minimising clothes waste and meeting quality standards. International returns are processed in the same way.”
They defended their policy on faulty items as innovative and said: “Unfortunately, as with any clothing manufacturer, occasionally items are faulty and therefore don’t meet our quality standards.
“Where possible we try to repair faulty items to minimise waste but regrettably some faulty items cannot be repaired and therefore aren’t suitable for sale. We are always looking for innovative ways to reduce the amount of fabric that goes to landfill.
“We also offer staff the opportunity to buy items with minor faults for just £1 with all money raised from this going to a charity of the staff’s choice.”