of destructive incompetence by union
Sunday, October 20, 2002, 13:29
POTTERS union Catu has bitterly criticised senior management at the troubled Royal Doulton company accusing them of driving the firm to the brink of extinction.
In an unprecedented move, the union has written a scathing letter to the Etruria-based firms chairman Hamish Grossart, accusing bosses of being destructive and incompetent and arrogant and complacent.
The document, released in the wake of Doultons sickening decision to close its Beswick plant, also condemns senior staff for failing to deal with the companys problems.
Royal Doulton responded by pointing out Catu had backed controversial restructuring plans, which it claimed would secure the future of the company.
Catus letter, which was also sent to Sentinel Sunday, signals an end to the unions special relationship with the company.
It says: Over the last three years, Royal Doulton has shed 5,000 jobs. We can no longer accept the age-old clich that its the managements right to manage the company without engaging the union in that process.
We are not prepared to sit in silence any more while this destructive and incompetent management continues to nail the lid on the coffin of a once proud and world-renowned company.
In February Royal Doulton unveiled plans to shut its Baddeley Green factory, make 500 job cuts in the Potteries, and transfer its Royal Albert brand to the firms plant in Indonesia.
The union concedes that although this was hard to stomach, it reluctantly backed the last-ditch scheme because it seemed the best of several bad options at a crisis point for the business.
However, the plan did not include the closure of Beswick, which was confirmed last month and will lead to the loss of a further 200 jobs.
Catus letter, signed by the unions general secretary Geoff Bagnall and its seven representatives at Royal Doulton, reveals the union feels left out of decision-making about the future of Royal Doulton and its workers.
With the planned closure of Beswick in June, the company will have around 900 employees in Stoke-on-Trent, compared to 1,200 in Indonesia.
The letter says: Since the announcement of the Baddeley Green closure, we have tried constantly to engage with the management over a wide range of critical issues, including the need for better brand management, and to secure the companys support for Catus scheme to retrain redundant workers.
Needless to say, it was sickening for us to hear about the intention to close Beswicks.
In spite of our best efforts to help the company move forward, it seems that the management are not capable of making any positive moves at all.
We are certain a better and more responsible management would have recognised the wider problems at the beginning of the year when the main restructuring took place.
The union stresses that it does not want to damage Royal Doultons reputation further.
However, it accuses the companys management of failing to understand its customers desires, pointing to comments made by the companys former marketing head Mike Bozman.
Two years ago Mr Bozman enraged collectors by claiming some of Doultons past wares were shoddy, based on ideas pinched from other companies, appealed to an ageing population and were not even pretty.
The document also reminds Mr Grossart that he had previously identified problems within the business.
The letter says: For many years now, Royal Doulton management has, in our opinion, been arrogant and complacent with no real notion of what its customers want.
Thats not just our opinion it is the description made by the companys former marketing director.
Back in 1998, you even said yourself that the company has too many products, is overstocked, has over invested in production capacity,
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SPECulative Society of Edinburgh Member
Non-Executive Chairman joined the board as chairman in 1996.Cairn Energy PLC
currently also non-executive deputy chairmanCairn India Limited
a non-executive director Member and Chairman of the Audit, Remuneration, Nomination & Corporate Governance Committees
British Polythene Industries PLC
Artemis Investment Management Limited
a non-executive director
Quality Care Homes
Scottish Radio Holdings
Barker & Dobson - (Drayton Consolidated Trust) - Alma Holdings
He has over 20 years' experience on public company boards, in a wide range of industries,
both in an executive and non-executive capacity, frequently with catastrophic consequences.
He has left:
a long trail of broken lives, betrayed staff, colleagues and women,
who have suffered from his emotional inadequacies and lack of maturity.
A weak and bullying individual, who brings shame and unhappiness to his children,
and those who misguidedly cared for him, as he sets out to prove his worth to himself.
Always acting egocentrically at the expense of those he can bully, exploit and control.
An emotional Narcissist & a manipulative sociopath.