Ladbrokes accused over single-manning policy

Ladbrokes accused over single-manning policy

Thursday, May 19, 2016 Totally Gaming
Jim Mullen admitted “serious systemic failures” in health and safety procedures

Ladbrokes has denied that it puts profits before the safety of its workers after its former head of health and safety, Bill Bennett, spoke out against ‘single-manning’ at an employment tribunal. 

Bennett claimed he had been sacked by the company for blowing the whistle on the controversial practice. His application was dismissed, with Ladbrokes arguing it had fired Bennett “owing to a lack of confidence in his ability to fulfil his role”.

The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that during the hearing, Bennett said Ladbrokes chose to “prioritise profits over health and safety” by continuing the practice of allowing staff members to work alone. Highlighting the dangers of single-manning, the newspaper pointed to the murder in 2013 of store manager Andrew Iacovou, who was beaten to death by a gambler at a branch of Ladbrokes in Surrey. 

According to the Daily Mirror, Ladbrokes chief executive Jim Mullen acknowledged there had been “serious systemic failures” in health and safety procedures but dismissed the suggestion he had put profits before lives as “bunkum”. He added that "health and safety is a non-negotiable part of the business.”

A Ladbrokes spokesman said the company has been in the process of changing the policy to “voluntary only in the evenings” across its stores since January 2016.  

The spokesman added: “We are in the process of rolling out the new arrangements and have been recruiting over 850 extra employees to help us deliver it.” 

The Daily Mirror claimed that Ladbrokes saved £200m (€260.8m/$292.0m) in wages in five years, partly by “forcing” some staff to work alone from 2010. The newspaper also alleged that 10 members of staff had been seriously attacked during this period.

TotallyGaming.com says: “Ladbrokes seems to have recognised that single-manning is a danger to its staff, after announcing an end to the policy and admitting “serious systematic failures”.”

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