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I appreciate the directors have a duty to deliver the best profits possible to the shareholders, but it seems there is no price they will pay, by risking human life in doing so. I used to work in a very rough council estate shop that had been held up around 8 or 9 times in a two year span, but the company didn't give a shit about the staff. This was a run down shop with no local competition, that had no pubs or busy roads nearby to keep business going beyond 5 or 6pm at night and as a result was an empty sitting target for any crook wanting to chance their luck.
At the risk of being held up by some nutter or getting your head kicked in by the local gang for having the audacity to ID them, is it worth it for such a pittance? The bookmakers opening to half 9 and 10pm on a Sunday is ridiculous too. Betting shops ain't the same now either. These machines have attracted the worst kind of chav, junkies and deadbeats looking for a quick fix playing roulette or on virtual racing. I feel sorry for some of the long serving managers I worked with in Ladbrokes who will probably have to put up with this shit until they retire, or lose a limb stopping one of these scumbags.
Be interested to hear from people who currently or previously worked in the industry. ScotchMisst Posts: 9, Forum Member. I worked for Ladbrokes years ago when i was a student. I would have done and did anything for them, they are absolutely awful employers, they don't deserve the loyal and hardworking staff that they have!
Big Dipper Posts: 2, Forum Member. My experience working in an independent betting shop as a student is too ancient to be of any value. Open at 10am and close 30 minutes after the last horse race, or at 6. Never fewer that three members of staff. Go home early in winter. A golden age for shop staff. There is no doubt that betting shop clientele, especially in the evenings, has changed for the worse since the machines came in.
I'd consider single-manning a dangerous practice and it's notable that Ladbrokes is the only major company with a stated policy of working this way. Unfortunately it will take the serious injury, or death, of an employee to reverse this. DaisyBumbleroot Posts: 24, Forum Member. I worked at ladbrokes for about 18 month, in the early nineties.
I don't know how I lasted that long! No worries, I liked the extra money. But then Id had a day off booked one Saturday for months, and I got told the day before that I couldn't have the day and I'd have to work.
Gutted, as I was meant to be going to Blackpool on a trip. Like a mug, I went in. If it wasn't found, we got a bollocking. Yes there was a fair bit of money on the premises, but the safe was in the floor. I work for Ladbrokes and since the explosion in addiction to FOBT gaming machines they've gone from a pretty decent firm to work for to one of the nastiest, horrible money grabbing companies in the UK.
There's little or no racing in the evenings but shops have to stay open until 10, some areas,11pm just so some losers can waste their lives away on gaming machines. The worst thing is that across the betting shop industry they introduced madatory single staffing to further maximise profits from these highly addictive machines,rightly nicknamed 'The Crack Cocaine of Gambling' where staff must open alone and work until about midday or 1pm before a cashier comes in. However Ladbrokes seem to be the only bookmakers who force staff to single man at night and they seem proud of it!!
They know they can get away with this as it's not against health and safety law god knows how? The CEO and Board won't care either, their attitude will just be 'How much was taken and when will the shop be open again, and by the way make sure you clean the blood out of the carpet properly' At least Hills and Paddy Powers have the decency to always have 2 staff on a at night, but not Ladbrokes. It's quite sickening that they take such a perverse pleasure in going out of their way to endanger their staffs safety.
Councils target betting shop 'blight'. Miliband would curb gaming machines. Theft from man, 77, at bookmakers. Two armed robberies at bookmakers. He has called for the charter in a debate at Westminster on Wednesday. Related Topics.
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I was pleased to hear of that and wish that such practice was in place right across the industry. Does the hon. Gentleman think that the way forward is for the issue to be dealt with on an industry basis through a voluntary code of conduct, rather than through Government legislation? That is the nub of my speech. We need to start with a voluntary code and monitor the situation. If it is working, it should be rolled out across the industry. If it is not working, we need to revisit the matter with legislation.
I am asking for a common-sense solution to sometimes volatile situations. I want compulsory double-locking on doors, compulsory CCTV and compulsory panic alarms, so that if people are threatened, they can hit the alarm and help will come.
There is something else in which I would be interested. The Ladbrokes policy is always to send someone out when a panic alarm goes off, even if it is a false alarm, just to be sure—someone might have been hit, or they might be on the floor and cannot be seen, or something like that. The hon. Gentleman and I both have experience of working in betting shops, and in my case often alone.
Many of them are independent shops, which is my background and my biggest concern. Putting too many requirements on independent betting shops might make them unviable, and we could end up not with single-manned betting shops but with no betting shops and nobody in work. I have the same background as the hon. I also worked in single-staffed independent betting shops. We need seriously to consider a voluntary code and see how it runs out.
If a voluntary code does not work, we can revisit it and have another discussion at another time. My hon. Friend is making a very good speech. What would he say to a constituent of mine who works in an independent bookmakers and who shall remain anonymous?
Does my hon. Friend feel that that practice should be addressed by the bookmaking industry and should not be allowed, particularly in the independent sector? I agree with my hon. I used to cash up at night, as I am sure the hon. Member for Shipley did. Sometimes on a Saturday I walked on the street with thousands of pounds in my pocket. Someone could have followed me from the betting shop as I walked to the post office to cash in.
Philip Davies is nodding, and perhaps we are united on wanting to address the issue. My constituent is a young female, so does my hon. After I left the betting shop, I worked in a bank. Compared with the level of security that we had at the betting shop, the Securicor van would turn up at the bank and the staff would be wearing armour and helmets to take the money away.
The bank had security measures in place, which the betting industry needs to consider. An interesting idea is that the marketplace manager, who looks after three or four shops, should take the takings and have security measures in place. A lot of people do not realise that the working day in a betting shop does not end when the last race goes off. Staff still have half an hour in which to cash up and settle outstanding bets. If there is any other sport going on, they have to settle that before going out the door.
A relief manager, as I was at one point, has to open the shop for the day so that everything is clear when the manager comes in. Friend is right that the industry needs to consider whether there should be more security measures, which again should be included in a voluntary code. Yesterday, I discussed the betting safety charter with Ladbrokes. Following our meeting, I plan to send a letter to the chief executives to put the betting safety charter into action.
I am pleased that Ladbrokes is open to the idea of such a charter. I hope that bookmakers will respond positively and commit to the idea of a national charter so that workers can feel safe in their place of work. I would like to see betting industry figures and Ministers sit round the table to discuss ways to protect shop workers and to ensure that staff can properly address issues such as problem gambling and antisocial behaviour.
I know the Minister well from our time serving together on the Select Committee on Justice. She takes a level-headed view of things and works collaboratively. I hope she lets us know whether she will take up my round-table idea and meet figures from leading bookmakers to investigate the matter further. The betting industry is one of the great business success stories, but like all industries there is much to improve.
I hope that an innovative and creative approach, which characterises the industry, is used properly to address the problems that shop staff face on a day-to-day basis. It is a pleasure, Mr Howarth, to serve under your chairmanship.
I congratulate Chris Evans on securing this important debate; he speaks from a position of great experience on these issues. I acknowledge the important and thoughtful interventions made by my hon. Members have made a number of points about single staffing in betting shops. I should like to set out clearly what controls are already in place and what the Government are doing in this area.
I absolutely agree that betting shops should be sufficiently staffed to ensure that the licensing objectives of the Gambling Act are upheld, and I confirm that local authorities already have powers to ensure that this is the case. The Gambling Act allows local authorities to attach conditions to betting shop premises licences where there are local concerns, including the compulsory use of CCTV , as mentioned by the hon.
Member for Islwyn. There is evidence that local authorities are using these powers to good effect. The London borough of Newham used these powers in November , when it imposed a number of licence conditions on a betting shop because of concerns that it attracted crime, disorder and underage gambling. The conditions include a requirement to have a minimum of two members of staff on duty throughout the whole day. Westminster city council has been proactive in using powers under the Gambling Act.
Westminster council requires betting shops to operate no pre-planned single staffing after 8 pm and to ensure there are a minimum of two staff members after 10 pm. The examples I have provided show that we do not need new statutory regulations on businesses to enforce minimum staffing levels. It is right that local authorities, which know these areas best, in conjunction with businesses, are responsible for setting appropriate minimum staffing levels, depending on local circumstances.
Staff safety was mentioned. The Government have made it clear that staff and customer safety in any workplace is of paramount importance. Employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of their staff. This applies to the betting industry as much as to anyone else. The betting industry has taken steps to enhance staff safety in recent years.
In , the betting industry formed the Safe Bet Alliance, mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Shipley, to tackle instances of crime against staff, customers and betting operators. Those standards were developed in collaboration with the industry, police and local authorities.
Although the Safe Bet Alliance was launched in London, all those standards have been adopted by the largest betting operators, which means that the vast majority of betting premises in England, Scotland and Wales are covered by those principles. Every employer must consider workplace risks to their employees. I expect all bookmakers to properly assess the appropriateness of single staffing as part of their business operations. Member for Islwyn mentioned support for a national charter.
The industry is implementing its social responsibility code, which includes points on staff safety, from March. The principles of any charter could perhaps be adopted in the existing code. There is certainly room for further discussions on that.
We have heard that single staffing limits the ability of staff to intervene when customers experience problems.