2021: General Discussion

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Skyscraper, 2nd Nov 2020.

  1. Heidi

    Heidi TowersStreet Member

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    As a young person from the area I know several people who work at towers and have known people who work there for years and I can say I don't think I've ever heard anyone have a positive experience of working there. The pay, the distance, the price of travel, the treatment from customers and the job itself has always meant people I know either leave or hate their time there. The least AT could do, at its been said, is give them a decent wage, which ultimately I believe would improve experiences at the park for guests too. I'm sure anyone here who's worked minimum wage before has heard "Minimum wage, minimum effort"
     
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  2. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Indeed Towers try and pay minimum wage yet forget for pretty much all their staff it’s a long commute. The closest Town is uttoxeter which is a 15min car drive and doesn’t exactly have astounding public transport access.

    They either need to up the wage or offer a travel subsidy, people also want stability so they need to find a way of offering year round employment (it’s not impossible, I have friends on annualised hours who get paid a steady salary over 12 months but barely work through late Jan to early March).

    I know Merlin will baulk at the idea of reducing their shareholders income for sitting at home doing nothing but the employment market is changing because of Covid and brexit and there are now more jobs than people to fill them (this may change as furlough ends but I doubt the leisure industry is going to see much improvement).
     
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  3. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    Can't believe I'm saying this but even THORPE has staff public transport done well.
     
  4. Dave

    Dave TS Founding Member

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    Thorpe is in the centre of a capital city, it would be hard not to do it well. To be fair to Towers it’s in the middle of nowhere from a residential point of view but they have known that for 50 years so they should have a solution by now!
     
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  5. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    IL admit the frequency of the 950 probably isn't viable but there's a few spots not that far from towers that could be used (denstone lane comes to mind) for additional capacity.
     
  6. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    Merlin’s attitude towards seasonal staff comes right from the top. Nick Varney has publicly opposed increases in the minimum wage and called for a lower min wage in the North versus the South.

    Tussauds did used to pay slightly above the min wage for many positions, it was nothing amazing but it set the tone that certain roles (for example ride hosts/operators that has a level of safety critical elements to it) are not ‘min wage jobs’. As Merlin took over and the min wage rose they simply didn’t raise the pay with it, so these roles slipped into becoming minimum wage.

    At Legoland they were basically forced to up the pay rates above min wage as Windsor is an affluent area with low unemployment and they were struggling to recruit. Shame they don’t see the value and the benefits higher pay would bring and simply see the staff as a cost.
     
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  7. Alsty

    Alsty TowersStreet Member

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    It's interesting to hear about the pay and working conditions under Merlin. I worked under Tussauds for three seasons and although the pay was not brilliant, it was slightly above the minimum wage. It was actually slightly above the main rate (age 22+) for all employees so even if you were 18 you got slightly above the higher rate which made a difference.

    Out of curiosity I just dug out an old payslip from August 2004. They were paying me £4.65 per hour. At this point in time the minimum wage for people aged 22 and over was £4.50. The actual minimum wage for me at the time was £3.80, so in real terms I was getting 85p/hr over the minimum wage.

    Also in terms of working conditions I generally felt like management had my back. If there were any issues or complaints I felt like my managers were fair and would support me. It sounds like that is not the case under Merlin?
     
  8. Ethan

    Ethan TowersStreet Member

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    Good few hours on park today. Operations were good and queues were bareable. If anything it's good to see the park doing well and thriving! Ended up on the back row of the smiler for the first time in a while, I was dreading it but blime me it was one of the best rides I've had on it for a while! Didn't notice much of a difference with smoothness and it was bloody fast, whipping you through every element. Well worth the 90 min wait I have to say
     
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  9. Ethan

    Ethan TowersStreet Member

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    Sorry for double posting, but you can now book until the end of August if you have a season pass. Is this a mistake or has it genuinely been extended?
     
  10. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    It was planned to occur so probably real.
     
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  11. John

    John TowersStreet Member

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    Aren't/weren't the season passes supposed to expire at the end of June? Has there been any official communication on the status of them recently?

    I wouldn't put it past them to have forgotten they were meant to expire, extending the booking window for all pass types regardless of the intended expiry date.
     
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  12. Dan

    Dan TS Contributor

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    Some people have been given full 2021 season passes so I would guess the slots are for them
     
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  13. Ethan

    Ethan TowersStreet Member

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    Well it stops at the end of August. So surely if it was for those people then ypu would be able to book until November
     
  14. D4n

    D4n TowersStreet Member

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    I'm pretty sure all annual pass prebooks currently stop at the end of August? So it's just keeping season pass bookings in line with other ticket types.
     
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  15. Ethan

    Ethan TowersStreet Member

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    Maybe they haven't realised yet then that season passes are supposed to expire for most at the end of June
     
  16. AT86

    AT86 TowersStreet Member

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    I suppose there is a chance it’s an extension, but knowing Alton Towers it’s more likely to be a cock up and only 2021 season pass holders should be able to book beyond June.

    You wouldn’t think they would want any of the parks capacity to be used up by 2020 season pass holders over the summer period when they can easily get the guest numbers they want from full priced day ticket holders, not people that paid £60 for a season.
     
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  17. Dan

    Dan TS Contributor

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    Maybe they are releasing them in blocks like they have done previously? I know that their system currently only checks if a pass is valid on the date of booking and doesn’t check if they are valid for the date the pre-book is for until you turn up on the day and scan your pass at the entrance
     
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  18. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    Afaik all passes share the same event calendar and capacity pool within Accesso
     
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  19. Kraken27

    Kraken27 TowersStreet Member

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    I too worked for Towers for 4 and a bit seasons, starting about a month from the end of the 1998 season. As above, they paid just above the over 22 minimum wage rate. If you were an operator you got a whopping 50p/hr extra for the increased responsibility of the role.

    There are two main issues I had during my time at Towers. Firstly the quality of the staff. At the time there was a "you'll always get a job at Towers" culture in the local area, as a result many of the staff did not particularly want to be there / had little interest in the role.

    Secondly, the "seagull" ride managers who stayed holed up in their offices coming up with crackpot ideas for improvements that anyone with a brain could see would not work. They would make you trial it - and sometimes even make a "seagull" visit (flies in, makes a lot of noise, sh1ts all over the place then flies out) to the ride station. When on the station they would do nothing to help - just stand by the back wall observing things. You'd get an hourly phone call to ask for the previous hours throughput & if it wasn't good enough you got it in the ear... as in point 1, above, the main issue was that half of the staff didn't really want to be there, so were not going to put themselves out.

    The Team Leaders were all great & would cover your back and back you up as long as you were in the right. I don't regret working there & made some good friends during my time there - most of whom I am still in touch with. I saw some interesting experiences at Towers, including being able to make rides do things they shouldn't (try that now and you'd be fired for reasons obvious). I'm older now and have a decent job which I enjoy & pays well, so I would not return to Towers.
     
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  20. Heidi

    Heidi TowersStreet Member

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    I'd argue that the "you'll always get a job at towers" culture is still around
     
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