AA Staff At Breaking Point As Private Equity Owners Seek Further Efficiency Savings In Preparation For Saga Float Says GMB
Float will leave AA staff to shoulder huge debts through further efficiency savings such as headcount reductions and reorganisations and union will take steps to protect members says GMB.
GMB members employed as roadside patrols by the AA motoring organization feel they are at breaking point as a result of the Company’s staffing arrangements and efficiency savings.
In a survey of members conducted by GMB, over 81% of members stated that they were unhappy with their shift times and individual staff reported that AA are expecting more and more from patrols. (See notes to editors 1)
One of the most controversial policies is ‘last job of shift’ which over 79% of members feel they were mis-sold by the company. Last job of shift means that staff are required to work beyond their contractual finish time in what the company originally said were emergency code red situations, however the policy is now used on an almost daily basis to force staff to work over their allotted hours.
As a result over 83% of GMB members have stated that they are regularly required to work beyond their specified finish time and over 84% stated that this can cause them problems with domestic arrangements such as childcare.
Staff are now aware that the situation is only going to become worse in the coming months. AA’s private equity owner Acromas owned by Charterhouse, CVC Capital Partners and Permira are planning to sell off the Saga part of the business and leave the AA to shoulder huge debts incurred from the original purchases. (See notes to editors 2)
Paul Grafton, GMB Lead Organiser for union members employed by the AA, said: "GMB’s survey shows our members within AA are already at breaking point with over 81% stating they are unhappy with shift times and 84% saying that the Company’s controversial last job of shift over policy causes them serious ‘problems with their domestic arrangements’
We now find that AA’s private equity owners are loading the company with debt in order to float an almost debt free SAGA on the stock exchange for their own profit. This will leave AA staff to shoulder these debts through further efficiency savings such as headcount reductions and reorganisations.
AA are now planning to sweat the staff to pay for these debts and by their own admission they are planning ‘initiatives to reduce our operating expenses’ which include ‘headcount reductions, business process re-engineering and internal re-organisation’. (See notes to editors 3)
It is completely wrong that AA staff should be treated in this way and that the public will likely suffer a drop in service as a result. GMB will take all necessary measures to protect our members from AA’s callous plans.”
Contact: Paul Grafton, GMB Organiser on 07714 239092 or 0208 397 8881 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
Notes to editors
1. GMB survey of members is available to download at http://www.gmbaa.org.uk/download/GMB_Members_Survey_2013_AW-4.pdf
2. Acromas’ intention to float Saga leaving AA with the debt was reported at http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-2452976/Saga-plans-profit-flotation-fever-mean-customers-investors.html and in the Financial Times on 10 October 2013.
AA described their planned efficiency savings in their recent 442 page bond prospectus which is available to download at http://www.gmbaa.org.uk/download/aa/cost%20savings%20p24.pdf
4. The full prospectus is available at http://www.gmbaa.org.uk/download/aa/AA%20Bond%20Co%20Limited%20Base%20Prospectus%20500.pdf