This week’s Undercover Big Boss, shown on ITV, focussed on a well-known UK removals company. The programme saw its managing director go incognito to find out why his firm was struggling to recruit younger employees.
Simon Hood, director of another leading removals specialist, John Mason International, says the programme gave some interesting insights on how other moving companies operate.
“The programme was not about John Mason International, but it was interesting to see behind the scenes of a fellow removals operator and learn of issues experienced by some of its workers,” he says.
“Whilst it showed quite clearly that the company concerned is blessed with some excellent colleagues, not everything was rosy about their pay and conditions.
“The MD demonstrated great leadership skills by listening to the concerns of his workforce, and acting upon them. But, frankly, some of these should never have been a problem in the first place.
“Seeing porters having to sleep in the back of a dirty removals lorry on old blankets used to wrap furniture when carrying out overnight work was very sad. This may have been commonplace within the industry decades ago but in this day and age, for me, it is completely unacceptable.
“That’s why, at John Mason International, we factor expenses for overnight accommodation into our logistics quotes. These are reviewed annually and increased, based on the latest market rates from accommodation providers.
“Our employees are the company’s most important assets – and keeping hold of them is paramount. Fortunately, we have a relatively low turnover of staff, and I believe the conditions we offer play a big part in this.
“I want my colleagues to be proud of John Mason International and, in turn, provide our customers with the excellent level of service that our brand reputation exudes.
“This week’s programme also picked up on a less than perfect East London depot, where a number of the featured company’s drivers and porters were working out of a shipping container – apparently with no running hot water or permanent toilet. This was causing disquiet among the team working there, who couldn’t manoeuvre their vehicles effectively – or even keep them clean. It became quite clear the MD was unaware of this and was visibly taken aback. Needless to say the issue was quickly rectified.
“Pay, that didn’t reflect the enormous efforts of removals teams, was also addressed.
“As a director at John Mason International, I think it’s important to invite feedback from our team – both positive and negative. I want our customers to know that we are a good employer and partner to our subcontractors – and they can only know this if we have a happy workforce.
“I am pleased to report that our depots are fit for purpose, and our crews are paid well over the minimum wage. My colleagues, partners and customers all have easy access to our management team, should they have any concerns or requests.
“Removals teams work incredibly hard, and they deserve to be fully rewarded for their efforts. At John Mason International, I am confident that we are doing just that.