Staff Redundancies

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by huzzellio, 9th Nov 2015.

  1. huzzellio

    huzzellio TowersStreet Member

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    Posted 9th Nov 2015
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  2. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    That's not great news, not only for the staff, but also this will have a knock on effect with us guest. I hope that this don't mean more SBNO rides. We could even lose the ERT as well as more staggered opening times etc... :(
     
    Posted 9th Nov 2015
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  3. Altonadvocate1

    Altonadvocate1 TowersStreet Member

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    My thoughts go out to anyone at risk of redundancy. A terrible accident has resulted in life changing injuries to several people and this is awful... But, the statistical chances of being injured or killed at AT over 3 decades are tiny.

    It is ironic that an unfair media, has led many people to boycott AT despite doing statistically far more dangerous things everyday. I can see closed off peak days, shorter opening times and SBNO attractions.

    AT is a great theme park, but is also a business. These steps may be necessary to protect its long term viability. The final part of the article does say that there will be ongoing capital investment so let's hope this puts AT back where it belongs.

    I have always felt that if Paramount Park goes ahead AT will likely lose its position as the UK' s most visited theme park, but I thought that due it's amazing setting, it would remain the best, no matter how much Paramount Park may spend on plastic theming and IP's.

    Here's hoping that Merlin can keep AT as a major player in the industry long term.

    My fear is that reduced opening and other changes will give the competition a chance to get their foot in the door...

    I don't know if the UK business is big enough to support multiple parks on the scale of AT and PP.
     
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    Posted 9th Nov 2015
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  4. BigT

    BigT TowersStreet Member

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    Posted 10th Nov 2015
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  5. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    Come on boys and girls, sing along!
    # Things, can only get crapper, can only get crapper...
     
    Posted 10th Nov 2015
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  6. Martin

    Martin TowersStreet Member

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    So they have a horrific accident possibly caused by a staff member's mistake, and their response is to cut staff numbers hugely, meaning more staff will be overworked, and therefore more likely to make mistakes.

    Good to see Merlin demonstrating their usual competency, they're nothing if not consistent.
     
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    Posted 10th Nov 2015
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  7. PeteB

    PeteB TowersStreet Member

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    Let's all hang fire for just moment. I've heard loads of people saying how this is all because of The Smiler, when actually if you read the official statement, the incident on that ride is only a partial contribution to this. What I put it down to is what I've been saying for years - morons in management, morons in marketing, morons in finance, and morons in health & safety. They should have a department called Merlin Moron Making.

    For example, in response to the official statement:

    Well duh! This is the theme park and amusement industry. How is this statement anything new? Tell us something we don't know.

    New technology? No. Again, has that not always been the case with this industry. Visitor expectation isn't higher, it comes down to your ever lowering standards of operation combined with your ever increasing prices and greed. The park once generated a great reputation for itself, putting it where it is today. All you have to do is take a good look around the park in it's current state to understand why visitor expectations are higher.

    Hey, I think Merlin are catching on to how this business of theme parks operates. Give this person a cookie.

    Yes, and the key phrase here is "customer focused approach" - your competitors are well aware of this. How did it take you so long to figure it out? Has this community and so many others not been harping on about these same old issues for the most part of a decade?


    As anyone with a brain would expect, but the only way out of that situation is investment, not cuts. I'm talking big time investment. Go big, or go home!

    Yes it's incredibly saddening that so many jobs could be lost, but hopefully those in the moron departments will be first to go. Those of us who've criticised the park heavily for a while have been saying a time needs come for it to crash and burn and maybe now the writing is on the wall, unless Merlin pull their finger out and do what it takes to actually run a theme park properly.

    I know so many people want to support the park but to be brutally honest I have no sympathy for the place. I'm not in the habit of spending money with a greedy, careless organisation just for the sake of nostalgia. Merlin and Alton Towers have done this to themselves. Even incident on The Smiler, while only part of the above issues, was caused by "human error" (as admitted by Nick Varney) and remember there was a former ride op who had previously been quoted as saying "operating standards for the rides weren't as high as they once were".

    Time has come for rapid change I think, and I hope that is in the form of more investments, bigger budgets for the park, and a huge increase in customer service - because if not things will only get worse for certain.
     
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    Posted 10th Nov 2015
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  8. Martin

    Martin TowersStreet Member

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    We all know it won't be the idiots that lose their jobs. It'll be normal, innocent staff who've nothing to do with the company's problems but will bear the brunt regardless.
     
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    Posted 10th Nov 2015
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  9. Funcone

    Funcone TowersStreet Member

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    I don’t suppose we’ll ever get a list of which positions they’re axing. But 190’s a lot. There clearly aren’t 190 people pushing bits of paper around a desk. I wonder who these people are they’re getting rid of. You’d have thought a good chunk of them must be from the resort, as they presumably have a lot more permanent staff.

    In the park who else could they get rid of? Gardeners? But I have a feeling they don’t have a lot of gardeners, and how much gardening needs doing isn’t affected by the number of visitors.

    Managers? I believe they’ve already cut down the number of ride teams from 6 to 5. They could cut it back again and go down to four. That sounds like the sort of thing that would happen. And if you cut a team out of a couple of other departments you’ve made a saving. But contrary to popular belief managers don’t just walk around looking important. They manage training, scheduling, motivate staff…

    Chessington and Thorpe Park have already announced they’re closing midweek next season. Has Alton Towers announced their schedule? If they close a couple of days midweek they can make their managers take the days when they’re closed as their days off and manage it that way. It would mean management would have even less chance of a weekend off than they do now.

    Maintenance staff? No, I’m being serious. Corporate companies tend to be short term. If they get rid of maintenance staff it’ll take a couple of years to really have an effect.

    There may be an element of outsourcing. For example cut down the number of gardeners, but hire in contract gardeners at the times of year when there’s most demand. Outsource more of the marketing. An advertising company might be able to come up with something more generic more cheaply, effectively doing a copy and paste job.

    There could well be an element of expecting the staff they keep to just do more hours to make up the shortfall.

    I don’t suppose we’ll ever find out where the axe falls, although I’m sure there are people on here who work for Alton Towers who will have an idea. But you can’t lose 190 permanent staff through efficiency savings. There’s going to be a real effect on the guest experience.
     
    jon81uk likes this.
    Posted 10th Nov 2015
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  10. Funcone

    Funcone TowersStreet Member

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    Sorry to double post (but not that sorry or I wouldn’t be doing it), but I estimate that the reduction in costs is equivalent to about 160,000 guests.

    If the average salary of the people they’re getting rid of is £17,000 (it may not be, that’s a figure I plucked from the air), then they’ve saved £3,230,000.

    I believe Alton Towers makes about £20 per customer (taking into consideration MAPs, discount vouchers, online discounts etc). Maybe £25, in which case it’s the equivalent to 130,000 guests.

    Presumably Merlin predict that any drop in visitors will be less than 130,000 (or 160,000, or whatever the figure is).

    It’s always hard to get accurate visitor numbers, but will be interesting to see the TEA report for this year, and what happens next year. I’ve been following Alton Towers fan groups online since the construction of Air. There’s always been topics about losing the magic and a perceived decline in quality, but this must be one of the biggest cut backs to the operating budget the park has seen. I know we all like to moan (well I do, anyway), but you simply can’t lose that much investment from a business without it affecting the guests. Merlin’s taken one of the world’s most famous theme parks down to a skeleton crew.

    Although we have our gripes, Alton Towers clearly gets better reviews on Trip Advisor than Legoland or CWOA, and think it’s fair to say that it is the UK’s number one theme park. With these cut backs, I genuinely worry that in a couple of years Alton Tower’s satisfaction levels could fall to Chessington’s.
     
  11. simps100

    simps100 TowersStreet Member

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    I know its a trend to bash Merlin at every opportunity, but not many company's would sustain the falls in revenue that Merlin have seen across its UK parks this year and not make staff redundancies.

    Its crappy for the staff (I know ive been made redundant before) and I hope those effected are helped in every way possible to find new employment be that within or outside of Merlin.
     
  12. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    I heard the other week something along the lines of however bad you think it is at Alton Towers right now, it's actually a lot worse. And this proves that. I know we all despise Merlin but without the backing of a a major company like them I do think Alton Towers could well have shut down by now; finances are dire.

    I feel for the people that are going to be losing their jobs. Hopefully there are quite a few opportunities for redeployment in the company, at least that way some will be able to keep a related job. I'd imagine Merlin may be looking to centralise certain aspects of the business.

    It also says that they are considering it and it may be up to 190 jobs. So we can only hope that the full 190 are not lost. There has to be a huge concern over the impact this will have on guests. 190 of their salaried staff is about a fifth of all salaried staff I believe. They simply will not have the resource or capacity to carry out all of the work that they have been doing. Certain services that they offer are bound to be lost or reduced.

    Things weren't exactly rosy at Towers before the incident on The Smiler; we've had budget cuts left right and centre for a few years now. So there is a chance that this is something that was going to happen regardless but it is taking place on a bigger scale now due to the drastic fall in guest numbers.

    I just hope Merlin have a strategy to get people back to the park and are not purely focussing on cutting costs. Investment is what will bring people back through the gates, and I really think they need to look at ticket pricing. Cutting everything back only damages the product, and if you damage the product so much you lose those all important repeat visits and recommendations.

    :)
     
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  13. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    They need to focus more on long term investments instead of doing everything on the cheap. Look at their last two big rides installed (Sub-terra and Smiler) both of which are the two most recent rides to be added and have now been SBNO for the best part of this year.

    This year they could have done more to compensate for the lack of availability of rides by either cutting the ticket prices as well as having free parking. Actually if they cut the parking attendants jobs first and give us free parking, not only be they be less staff to pay, but also will keep the returning guest happy, it's got to be a win win situation ;)
     
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  14. Enter Valhalla

    Enter Valhalla TowersStreet Member

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    I'm not exactly surprised that they've had to react in this way, the park has been significantly quieter this season and they need to do something like this in order to prepare themselves for what could potentially be another very quiet season, if trading picks up then I'm sure that they will create more positions where required. Sadly that's just how business works. Don't get me wrong, I do have sympathy for those losing their jobs but AT aren't a charity and it is understandable that after a difficult trading year sacrifices have to be made.

    Obviously this refers to permanent staff but one thing which did surprise me was that when I visited on a midweek off peak day last month I was shocked to see so many unnecessary positions on rides filled by seasonal staff. Entrance hosts on Air, Nemesis and Octonauts... Why? Batchers on Rita and Thirteen.. Again why? Three staff on RMT, a ride which I know used to run on two, particularly amusing since Flying Fish runs on two staff and the attendant has double the number of bars to check. These seemed like basic savings which could have been made much quicker rather than now having to lay off such high numbers of permenant staff, I've said for a long time that AT seem to employ too many seasonal staff on some of the rides, far more than at Thorpe where rides seem to run on minimal staffing at off peak times.
     
  15. Graeme

    Graeme TowersStreet Member

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    This...exactly! For many years, people have been saying that the merlin parks are looking worse and worse, there's no atmosphere and bosses don't seem to care about the parks. The irony is...when I visited last week, each and every member of staff i encountered DID care!

    Merlin have turned the UK parks into a cash cow, VIP this....Fast Track This....pay huge amounts for accommodation and have totally lost sight of what's important....the customer.

    I'll just leave this here "You have to love people" the secret to Europa Parks success......Merlin purely love their wallets.

    really feel for the staff at towers :(
     
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  16. EuroSatch

    EuroSatch TowersStreet Member

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    I really really hope this is the first sign of Merlin looking to package the UK parks up for sale
     
  17. Grand_Nash

    Grand_Nash TowersStreet Member

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    Let's be honest Alton Towers will always exist merlin will fold before alton towers ever does.

    I'm sure finances for next would be expected to be low. It's a low investment year. Guest numbers normally suffer when there is no new attraction. Merlin have to invest in a large ride every 4 years the public expect that.

    I think merlin should look at the customer journey. Being jumped on as soon as you walk through the door asking for a picture is not the best way to start your day.

    If one bad season messes the park up than it quite frankly was never run correctly in the first place
     
  18. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Very true. If you read the comments on a lot of the news websites about this story, most are not about the accident anymore, but the cost of going there. £50.40 is a huge amount of money for one person to visit for the day, especially if that person was to go on a normal day, without the accident, they may get 4-5 rides in during the day, bearing in mind the staggered openings and early closure times. Thats not value for money.

    Staying over is no better and a family could find it cheaper to go to Spain for a week than a weekend break in Alton Towers resort. Your looking at least £150 a night B&B for Splash Landings. There are plenty of cheaper, better alternatives in the area, such as Premier Inn, Holiday Inn, all with air con in the rooms for a third of that price. Again, not value for money, especially when you see how tired and old parts of the hotel rooms are. Enchanted Village is ok in terms of lodges, but lacks a decent hub, such as a nice village pub, and the treehouses are out of the reach of most people's budgets.

    As for food and drink, personally, I dont find it too extortionately priced, and depending where you go, the food can be of a decent quality, but again, families and people going and staying need to factor in this extra cost.

    The mini golf is old and tatty and I dont think its even used that much anymore. Waterpark is ok for an hour or two but not large enough and varied enough to warrant a full day in there.

    I feel so sad for the staff who may be affected by these cuts I really do. Next year Merlin need to focus on getting people into the resort and spending, and by keeping admission and hotel prices at their current level, its not going to happen.
     
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  19. Poisson

    Poisson TowersStreet Member

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    Lets be honest, Merlin don't want theme parks. Why don't they sell them? (LEGO is different with the KIRKBI arrangement) They'd make a bomb and save money....
     
  20. Martin

    Martin TowersStreet Member

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    That's a rather interesting and cold point of view, which just makes it sound like you're on Merlin's side. It comes back to what we were talking about last night. Why should staff who have nothing to do with the fall in profit have to suffer from it, rather than the incompetent idiots that have been dragging the park and the company down? It's much easier for the bosses to just cut a load of 'lesser' jobs than take a look in the mirror at their own performances and salaries.
     
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