The Smell of Bullshit, part 60: holiday pay again

I refer you to previous posts here and here. And I remind you of the fact that Mark Constantine said on the Lush forum that he didn’t see why Lush should have to pay attention to employment law because they’re a small family business and it’s not relevant to them (he’s wrong).

This week an employment tribunal has ruled that overtime should be included in holiday pay. A legal bod of my acquaintance had this to say about it

This is major. But not for any of the reported reasons. Men get massively more cash than women from additional payments such as overtime, commission etc. The fact they now get some credit for that work when they go on holiday is important but it’s not a game changer. So what’s the big news? Employers, especially so-called charities and councils, deliberately employ women on contracts for a token number of hours (10 or 12) but then insist they work 25-30 hours (with no overtime premium). Sometimes the contracted hours are actually zero, hence “zero hours contracts”. This leaves workers in a precarious position not knowing what there actual hours and income will be. Mortgages and loans are also hard to come by. Pensions are reduced etc. The flexibility all lies with the employer.
All this feeds into sick pay,holiday pay and other benefits. A worker with a 10 hours contract gets 10 hours holiday pay even if their regular working week is 30 hours. All part of the average life time pay difference between women and men of one quarter of a million pounds!
From now women will be able to take well earned holidays without taking a pay cut when they take time off. And what is even more significant, we have removed one of the incentives for employers to offer bogus contracts with artificially low working hours. Which is an all round good thing. Chipping away at the position of employers who abuse their power over low paid women is slow and arduous work. But when the Institute of Directors and the CBI are bumping their gums you know your doing something worthwhile. As for the charities and councils? They should have known better. Now they do.

So why bring it up here? Well, because we know that Lush have previous for putting people on part time contracts, giving them full time hours, but only giving them part time holidays. If you are an employee of any organisation, including Lush, and you ever do more hours than your contract specifies, you are entitled to have the overtime pay included in your holiday pay. See your union rep, get it sorted out. If you’re not in a union, join one.

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12 thoughts on “The Smell of Bullshit, part 60: holiday pay again

  1. Lush do not indulge in zero hour contracts and anyone who works over their contract, holiday pay is accrued on HOURS WORKED. And this was happening long before this legislation was put in place. Long before.

    And yes, I do work for them. And believe it or not I am not ‘deluded’ or ‘brainwashed’. I just enjoy my job, like the company and what they sell and I actually enjoy myself at work.

    I am also a member of a union so referring to an earlier post, they do not discourage or refuse to recognise memberships.

    • That’s b*llocks as I’ve worked for them (until very recently) and they did have zero or 4-hour contracts. Constantine also actively discouraged trade union membership, as you would have heard from his little right-wing rant at the 2012 LushFest (when the board took to the stage) and also the January 2013 Managers’ Meeting. He said, and I paraphrase,

      “I won’t stop you joining a trade union but…”

      And then went on a long rant about why he hated trade unions, referencing something about them only being useful to squeeze more money out of him when he was getting rid of people. I had to physically put my hands over my mouth to stop from interrupting him. Trade Union members were openly victimised when I was there, by the company owner himself. I was there, I saw it and heard it and was subject to it.

      If you don’t want to believe it, that’s fine, but it happened none the less.

      Apart from that, I’m very glad you like the company and enjoy your job. It must feel brilliant to be part of such an exclusive 1% of the Lush workforce that do. You are holding company with the Constantines, I believe, who can surely be the only other people on the payroll to enjoy being there. In my opinion.

      • Handmade Soap Hater.

        I was at the same meeting so we must know each other. I do not keep company with the Constantines so please, before you make silly remarks and presumptions, get your facts right.

        Let me correct you. The meeting you speak of, it was brought up by a manager and it was responded to not in the way you state. I remember it clearly as I was a union member so my ears pricked up. Yes, it was said that there should be no need for union membership as we should be able to sort things out and that unions were ‘a pain’. Which from an employers perspective, they can be. It was all quite tongue in cheek and not exactly appropriate but nobody was actively discouraging people from joining. It is no secret that I belong to a union. I also encourage everyone I work with to do the same. I am very vocal about it and have NEVER been persecuted for doing so.

        You also forget that at another meeting, people were asked to speak freely about their feelings for the company and what they wanted to see to change it. It was pretty harsh. Nobody was persecuted following that either. Instead change came. Wage increases, the removal of low contracts, manager training, sales assistant training to name a few.

        As for the zero/4 hour contracts again you are wrong. If someone works overtime consistently their contract is changed, instigated by payroll after consultation with the manager and member of staff. This has been happening for well over a year now.

        I am sorry to pop your hate balloon but Lush really are getting their shit together. I am also sorry that you had a bad experience. If you did, there are people you can talk to about it.

      • Southside Socialist

        No, not just ‘my experience’. It is company policy. A lot of very positive changes have happened over the last 3 years and you cannot keep dragging up old stories from years ago in an aid to build your case. Ok yes – there were a lot of things that were wrong (I have been employed for 5 years) but so much effort has been put in to make things right for the future. My point was to correct you about facts – opinion is your own and you are very much entitled to it and looking at why you feel that way, I understand your anger. But please, stick to facts.

      • Oh, and another thing @Retail Worker – I didn’t say you ‘kept company’ with the Constantines, I said you were ‘holding company’ with them in that you are part of an elite crew who enjoys your job. So please, before you make silly presumptions and remarks about something you think I said, please get your facts right and learn to read.

    • Re: TU recognition, maybe you don’t understand, but Lush do not have a recognition agreement in place with any trade union, therefore they do not officially recognise TU membership.

  2. @Retail Worker

    Yes, we were at the same meeting it seems. I am not going to go through everything you say, piece by piece, because both you and I know you are completely wrong.

    Firstly, Mark was not ‘tongue in cheek’ at that meeting. You may be so enamored with him that you felt he was, but I found him to be a threatening bully boy; wanting his own way because he owns the company. He is the perfect combination of both stupid and belligerent which is unfortunate in someone heading up a supposedly ‘ethical’ company.

    As for the “You also forget that at another meeting, people were asked to speak freely about their feelings for the company and what they wanted to see to change it. It was pretty harsh. Nobody was persecuted following that either.”

    You are also wrong about that. People were persecuted. How can you possibly know out of the hundreds that were there at that meeting that NONE were persecuted? You can’t. But I can tell you people were persecuted. Maybe think about people who just seemed to vanish from the company never even able to say ‘goodbye’. There have been plenty of those. Luckily, I was wise enough not to say my true feelings. But both you and I know that some people have such status in the company that they have ‘carte blanche’ to do all manner of things, whilst others do not. One person’s free speech is another person’s P45.

    You obviously haven’t been on the ‘wrong side’ of The Family (and by ‘wrong side’, I don’t actually mean having done your job incorrectly, not performed or fallen foul of one of their unwritten rules), I mean they suddenly decide you’re ‘not happy’ or ‘not needed’ any longer. I am pleased this is the case for you, fabulous. But that doesn’t mean all is well in the Lush ‘handmade’ garden. It isn’t.

    I am not ‘wrong’ about the zero/4 hour contact. If you re-read what I said, it was this:

    “That’s b*llocks as I’ve worked for them (until very recently) and they did have zero or 4-hour contracts.”

    Note the word DID. Can you see that little three letter word? Do you know what it means? I am saying that when I worked there, they DID have 4 hour/zero contracts (In reply to you saying it has been in place for a long time. I was pointing out I worked there until very recently and it did still happen). If they’ve got their act together in the last few months, great, I have no proof of that. But we both know that hasn’t always been the case, you admit this yourself when you say:

    “This has been happening for well over a year now.”

    Bit different to what you said originally, isn’t it? Please, remember your lies; it looks foolish otherwise. As a reminder, you originally said:

    “And this was happening long before this legislation was put in place. Long before.”

    So, “well over a year” vs. “long before”.

    You can’t see me now but I will tell you I am stroking my chin and saying “chinny reckon”.

    Whilst I was still staff, that was not the policy (again, if you had properly read my original reply, you would see I said that). I only have your word to take for it that it happens now, and the rest of what you say is utter bull and totally inconsistent so why would I believe what you say? You are obviously indoctrinated. And please, learn to read.

    Also, they’ve ‘got their sh*t together’ have they? So why is the website an absolute mess? This is why Mr Gerrie has allegedly walked out is it? (and let’s not forget, he was the only person in the whole company senior team with brains & principles).

    Finally, I would like to ask where in my original post did I indicate I had a ‘bad experience’? I didn’t have a bad experience, I was sick of the cr*p and had a better offer, so moved on. As many do. I don’t know how you dare to patronise me, telling there is someone I can ‘talk to about it’; I think perhaps you need to see someone to address your delusions.

    • Handmade Soap Hater.

      I am not going to get into further debate with you as you are already resulting to insults. Your opinion is your own and you are entitled to it – I was simply correcting you with regards to some facts that you had wrong.

      The final one I will correct is trade union recognition. It matters not. If a staff member wanted to include their union representitive in for example, a meeting with regards to a disciplinary matter, they are entitled to do so. Membership is NOT discouraged.

      My last word on this will be that you stayed quiet at that meeting. I did not. I was perhaps one of the most vocal of all. Change happened. It is still happening. Because people spoke up. Apologies for presuming that you had a bad experience – the name ‘Handmade Soap Hater’ led me to believe so. Telling you to talk to someone about it was not to be patronising – it was to highlight if nobody knows, nothing ever changes.

      Good luck to you.

      • @ Retail Worker. I shall address each part bit by bit.

        >>>I am not going to get into further debate with you as you are already resulting to insults. Your opinion is your own and you are entitled to it – I was simply correcting you with regards to some facts that you had wrong.

        I am not sure where you found offence; if you didn’t like me picking up on your inconsistencies, the disparity in your argument, or the fact you hadn’t originally read my response correctly, that is a shame. Welcome to the world of adult debate – people disagree with each other and pick holes in each other’s argument. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the word ‘bull’ but then you didn’t play nicely either, did you? A reminder:

        “before you make silly remarks and presumptions, get your facts right.”

        (My facts were right, you had read my original post incorrectly)

        “I am sorry to pop your hate balloon”

        (Presumptive on your behalf. I have no hate in me; but I do love a heated debate).

        You repeatedly called me ‘wrong’. I wasn’t wrong, as I have already stated. Feel free to go back to that original argument and tackle it if you want. Accuse me of ‘resulting’ to insults if you like, but if you choose to take offence there is little I can do.

        >>> The final one I will correct is trade union recognition. It matters not. If a staff member wanted to include their union representitive in for example, a meeting with regards to a disciplinary matter, they are entitled to do so. Membership is NOT discouraged.

        Legally an employee is entitled to have a union representative or colleague at any official meeting. That’s nothing to do with Lush. That is not the same as Union recognition. Union recognition means that Lush work with a specific union, actively. It’s not the same thing as having to recognise employment law. Lush have no agreement in place with any union, therefore they do not officially recognise any union. That is what I am talking about, not whether someone wishes to take a TU organiser into a meeting with them. Again, you either don’t understand what TU recognition or agreement is or you didn’t read what I was saying. If you find that insulting, that’s life.

        >>>>My last word on this will be that you stayed quiet at that meeting. I did not. I was perhaps one of the most vocal of all. Change happened. It is still happening. Because people spoke up. Apologies for presuming that you had a bad experience – the name ‘Handmade Soap Hater’ led me to believe so. Telling you to talk to someone about it was not to be patronising – it was to highlight if nobody knows, nothing ever changes.

        Right, the meeting. What happened at that meeting, let’s be quite frank about it. Mark Constantine stood at the front and asked the young lady who originally posed the question re: working with TU at LushFest 2012 to repeat the question. It was posed. You know that, I know that. You were very vocal? Good for you, that takes balls in the world of Lush. But never think Mark asks these things for any other reason than posturing. There was a reason he wished to talk about TU that day and it was nothing to do with change. Unless you’re about to tell me he called up USDAW and struck a recognition agreement with him.

        Change may have happened in the company. Great. Many many people have tried their very best over the years to make it happen. People Mark may have felt were quite radical or unusual or quirky until he got bored and got rid of them. Have a think about those characters. Where are they now? Yes, those people were possibly also battling for good change for everyone. There will be many doing it quietly behind the scenes right now. But the fact is Lush doesn’t change because Mark doesn’t want it to. If Lush wanted to change, ethically, they would have got a living wage for everyone in the UK by now (please tell me they have), instead of the press-worthy London one (because only Londoners deserve to live comfortably, right?). Or maybe they have an agreement in place with a trade union. That would be progress. Perhaps they are now putting recall notices for every ‘off’ batch on the shop doors so customers can know. They would all be very simple ways to change for the better. Are they doing any of those things?

        >>>>Good luck to you.

        I admire your efforts in sticking by something you love. But remember, Lush won’t thank you for it. Many have defended the company the way you are and it really has got them nowhere. You could argue with me and countless others well into the night (although let’s face it, it will get neither of us anywhere). You won’t get thanks. You won’t get praise. You won’t get promotion. If your face doesn’t fit, they use you as long as they can – until you get bored of them or they get bored of you – and then the breakup comes. I wish you the very best but please, think about your talents and how hard you work; are your talents being used properly? Or are you being recognised for your efforts and graft? Do you feel really fulfilled in your job? If you can say – hand on heart – yes to those things, you’re doing well. If not, go and work for someone who will cherish your talents. Lush won’t – they will use them and move on.

        Stockholm syndrome doesn’t just apply to hostages.

        Good luck to you too. I mean that sincerely.

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