Sport Relief and BA — what a contrast!

By David Elliott

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Labour party

Elliott: highs and lows on show last week
Elliott: highs and lows on show last week
Last weekend brought home to me the highs and lows of our great country, says former Greene King Pub Partners boss David Elliott.

Last weekend brought home to me the highs and lows of our great country. Sport Relief is a wonderful example of how the public can get behind a fantastic cause.

It was also great for pubs to demonstrate they are at the heart of their communities — and that charitable fund-raising is a terrific opportunity to galvanise everyone.

I visited a pub in Bristol that had arranged a one-mile run/walk with all participants starting and finishing at the pub. The additional trade was worth £700 and more than £1,500 was raised for Sport Relief. Licensees who did not support Sport Relief, Children in Need or Red Nose Day really should think again, as customers will support worthy causes and they are good for business.

The contrast for me is with the behaviour of the Unite union and its determination to destroy British Airways. Its antiquated arguments really do not hold sway and I believe this "unionisation" has had a real detrimental impact on British Airways service, especially that the cabin crew.

Over the past few years I have refused to fly BA as, in my view, the cabin staff just want to do the absolute minimum. Compare this with Virgin, Emirates or any other airline, where service really does count.

The BA dispute and the on-going problems with our rail network, inflamed by the RMT union, demonstrates to me, that these unions are determined to return relationships between unions and management back to the bad old, pre-Thatcher days.

Remember the winter of discontent in 1979 when the country came to a complete standstill, docks were picketed and rubbish was piled up on every street?

On that note, our industry would be wise to ensure that Unite does not meddle in the relationship between the self-employed licensee and their landlord. Remember, these unions are still the paymasters of the Labour Party. Be warned!

Finally, the statements last week from John Healey, the new pubs minister, while encouraging on change of use and planning, demonstrate to me he has no idea whatsoever how the industry operates. He has taken sound bites from a small number of individuals, but, as importantly, the industry has failed to influence his thoughts.

I am not politically motivated, but I hope post-election that whoever is in Government, will sit down, listen to all sides and deal with the real issues of supermarket pricing and the duty escalator — and at the same time remember that the industry contributes in excess of £22bn each year to the Exchequer.

Related topics Sport

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