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Companies that were villains during the Coronavirus crisis


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During the Coronavirus crisis there have been companies that have treated their staff appallingly and they certainly don't deserve our custom. The way they have treated people should be remembered so here is a thread for these deeds to be highlighted.

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First up - Wetherspoons:

Wetherspoons workers have been urged by the company’s owner, Tim Martin, to find jobs in supermarkets during the coronavirus pandemic and have been warned they will face delays in being paid. The pub chain, which employs around 40,000 people, has been forced to close indefinitely after Boris Johnson ordered all non-essential shops, including bars and restaurants, to shut in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. In his video message to staff, Martin urged his workers to seek alternative employment while Wetherspoons remains closed and admits that the company are relying on the Government to deliver on their promise to pay people who are unable to work during the crisis. Angry workers have sent a letter to company chiefs demanding full pay, and have claimed that their bonuses have been stripped.

https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/24/wetherspoons-boss-urges-staff-get-jobs-tesco-warns-pay-delays-coronavirus-crisis-12447096/

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One of the worst ways I've seen a company treat its staff was what happened to some staff at Britannia Hotels:

Britannia Hotels allegedly sacked and evicted workers across the UK as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Initially the company said that evictions of workers from Coylumbridge Aviemore Hotel in the Scottish Highlands was just an ‘administrative error’. However, staff at other hotels run by the chain got in touch with Metro.co.uk to tell us that staff had also been fired and made homeless at Basingstoke Country Hotel, Pontins in Prestatyn, Pakefield, Brean Sands, Camber Sands, Sand Bay and Southport.

https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/21/hotel-chain-britannia-makes-uk-staff-homeless-coronavirus-sackings-12434115/

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Virgin Airlines, for asking thousands of staff to take eight weeks' unpaid holiday.

Britannia Hotels, owners of the Coylumbridge Hotel, Aviemore, who sacked and evicted their staff. They are now embarking on an extensive "we didn't really mean it" campaign. They don't actually seems to be going back on their actions, though.

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"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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Let's all hope that this list ends up being far shorter than the other one.

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"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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My department of the civil service (which I cannot name!).  They have refused to cease hot desking, they did not stop people mixing in the kitchen area, they did not replace soap in the kitchen area and they did not take the required compassionate view in respect of those of us with elderly relatives who required our support.  In fact, the only thing they actively did was provide hand sanitiser and since there was no indication of the alcohol content that was of dubious assistance.  Only today were they forced into sending us all home, and by then infection had appeared in the office.

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10 hours ago, Johnoco said:

The thing that amazes me about allegedly savvy business people is that some don’t seem to realise the value of good PR and just occasionally doing the right thing. OK, Tim Martin can’t realistically keep paying staff with no fixed date of return to work but how much would it cost him if he personally paid each employee an extra weeks wages as a bit of a token gesture? It is gonna cost the tight b’stard a lot more in boycotted pubs in future I reckon. 
He just comes across as a kno bhead

He knows he has a group of people who, firstly, expect businessmen to be Victorian Mill Owners and thus will not react when shown that they are, and, secondly, really, really, really like cheap booze.

However, a gesture that he would pay wages at some level until the government rescue package kicks in should have been the minimum. It wouldn't take much and might even add a few more people to his business when he reopens.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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1 hour ago, Johnoco said:

Well exactly.

 I like cheap booze, very much so. However, like most people, I have some principles (somewhere) and I never try to use businesses that exploit workers. Ironically in the past I’ve spoken to Wetherspoons employees about how it is working for them and they’ve always been positive about it. 
 

But that businessmen can’t see that shelling out a couple of million (from a vast fortune) in extraordinary times like these is not only a nice thing to do but also a smart PR move amazes me. I’ll certainly be giving them a swerve unless he changes his mind over this, cheaper booze or not. (Ouch that hurts ? )

Bild

Seen on twitter. I think that's the one in Crystal Palace.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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The Probate Registries for deciding to introduce new forms for applying for Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration now with only a four week handover from the previous system (meaning any applications with HMRC for inheritance tax compliance will be out of date by the time they are signed off). It will mean having to some how draft, get out and arrange signature by often elderly clients of completely superfluous documentation.

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Our game of chicken with British Airways has paid off... they've finally cancelled our flights to Italy a few weeks before the flight was due and only two days before our payment "extension" expired and we had to either pay the full balance or lose the deposit.

But... rather than the simple usual "we'll refund" email, they said they'll be in touch to work out any options. No... I want a refund.

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"When in deadly danger, when beset by doubt; run in little circles, wave your arms and shout"

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2 minutes ago, ckn said:

Our game of chicken with British Airways has paid off... they've finally cancelled our flights to Italy a few weeks before the flight was due and only two days before our payment "extension" expired and we had to either pay the full balance or lose the deposit.

But... rather than the simple usual "we'll refund" email, they said they'll be in touch to work out any options. No... I want a refund.

We been waiting for them to pull the plug on a holiday we have booked for Sri Lanka in April. We have paid the full amount already and they have just emailed to say it’s off. Think they are trying to offer us a new date or vouchers but with being self employed we really need a refund. Fairly sure they are going to make it as difficult as possible though. 

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2 minutes ago, bobbruce said:

We been waiting for them to pull the plug on a holiday we have booked for Sri Lanka in April. We have paid the full amount already and they have just emailed to say it’s off. Think they are trying to offer us a new date or vouchers but with being self employed we really need a refund. Fairly sure they are going to make it as difficult as possible though. 

That's why we were waiting on them, they have to offer a refund.

"When in deadly danger, when beset by doubt; run in little circles, wave your arms and shout"

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Johnoco,

              When Witherspoons first started up I worked on lots of there properties they were possessing doing the refurbishments that their properties needed. I actually met him several times on these projects. He certainly came across as a very savvy businessman, but he did seem to lack a fair bit of common sense.

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20 hours ago, Saintslass said:

My department of the civil service (which I cannot name!).  They have refused to cease hot desking, they did not stop people mixing in the kitchen area, they did not replace soap in the kitchen area and they did not take the required compassionate view in respect of those of us with elderly relatives who required our support.  In fact, the only thing they actively did was provide hand sanitiser and since there was no indication of the alcohol content that was of dubious assistance.  Only today were they forced into sending us all home, and by then infection had appeared in the office.

You have had a horrid time and it has been shocking to read about. I truely hope that this is in time for you.

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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1 hour ago, bobbruce said:

We been waiting for them to pull the plug on a holiday we have booked for Sri Lanka in April. We have paid the full amount already and they have just emailed to say it’s off. Think they are trying to offer us a new date or vouchers but with being self employed we really need a refund. Fairly sure they are going to make it as difficult as possible though. 

What is the legal requirement for receiving a refund?. I have had two theatre bookings cancelled and they both offered us vouchers. We would prefer a money refund.  Also a flight booked through Expedia has been cancelled and they said it would take up to 30 days for a refund. When the booking was made the payment was taken on my card instantaneously almost.

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5 minutes ago, bazzzz65 said:

What is the legal requirement for receiving a refund?. I have had two theatre bookings cancelled and they both offered us vouchers. We would prefer a money refund.  Also a flight booked through Expedia has been cancelled and they said it would take up to 30 days for a refund. When the booking was made the payment was taken on my card instantaneously almost.

Check terms & conditions. Flights are regulated by EU and refunds are mandatory for cancellation unless you agree otherwise. All other contracts  are bound by the original terms. 

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"When in deadly danger, when beset by doubt; run in little circles, wave your arms and shout"

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8 minutes ago, bazzzz65 said:

What is the legal requirement for receiving a refund?. I have had two theatre bookings cancelled and they both offered us vouchers. We would prefer a money refund.  Also a flight booked through Expedia has been cancelled and they said it would take up to 30 days for a refund. When the booking was made the payment was taken on my card instantaneously almost.

With theatres, concerts etc it usually depends on whether the event is classed as cancelled or postponed. If cancelled they have to refund, but if it’s going to be held at a later date then they don’t.

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I’m not prejudiced, I hate everybody equally

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32 minutes ago, bazzzz65 said:

What is the legal requirement for receiving a refund?. I have had two theatre bookings cancelled and they both offered us vouchers. We would prefer a money refund.  Also a flight booked through Expedia has been cancelled and they said it would take up to 30 days for a refund. When the booking was made the payment was taken on my card instantaneously almost.

Worth dropping Simon Calder a tweet on everyone's holiday questions around refunds, timescales, vouchers etc - he seems to reply to lots of stuff.....he's a good chap

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2 hours ago, ckn said:

Our game of chicken with British Airways has paid off... they've finally cancelled our flights to Italy a few weeks before the flight was due and only two days before our payment "extension" expired and we had to either pay the full balance or lose the deposit.

But... rather than the simple usual "we'll refund" email, they said they'll be in touch to work out any options. No... I want a refund.

BA would only give us credit for a future flight within the next 12 months. That’s over $4000.

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21 hours ago, Saintslass said:

My department of the civil service (which I cannot name!).  They have refused to cease hot desking, they did not stop people mixing in the kitchen area, they did not replace soap in the kitchen area and they did not take the required compassionate view in respect of those of us with elderly relatives who required our support.  In fact, the only thing they actively did was provide hand sanitiser and since there was no indication of the alcohol content that was of dubious assistance.  Only today were they forced into sending us all home, and by then infection had appeared in the office.

While most of my colleagues in other areas of my work place started disappearing over a week ago... my branch is still all at work. It’s very frustrating. They are only now looking into assets for us to work from home .... and surprise surprise, assets are now thin on the ground and may have to be ordered.

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36 minutes ago, shaun mc said:

Worth dropping Simon Calder a tweet on everyone's holiday questions around refunds, timescales, vouchers etc - he seems to reply to lots of stuff.....he's a good chap

I knew Simon Calder when I worked for Mirror Group and the Independent was owned by us. I used to ask him many questions and he was most helpful.

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