Friday, December 23, 2011

Virgin Scumbag Brand: My New Year's Resolution 2012

I have finally had it with Branson and the Virgin brand. Check out the Left Foot Forward exposure of Richard Branson the Union buster.  
He fronts a video to Virgin America Airline staff telling them not to vote to recognise a trade union.
Trade Union recognition is a basic human right and any decent employer should welcome unions with open arms.

I’ve moaned on this blog about the rubbish customer service I have received from Virgin Media but I have been too disorganised to do much about it. Now enough is enough. 

I will change my TV and Broadband supplier as soon as I can and will never use Virgin holidays or finance ever again. I will also display some suitable message while running the London Marathon next year but I would recommend that everyone leaves and boycotts any service associated with this completely vile individual.


bob smith said...

I moved from BT to Virgin for telephone and broadband 5 months ago and after some initial hiccups the service has been very good, far better than the pathetic service from BT. Indeed, (and at the risk of straying onto a similar post), there have been no benefits from the Olympics for the people of Newham when it comes to BT as they are still using the useless copper wire instead of investing in fibre optic - unless you are in the media centre. The result is that the majority of Newham residents will only get maximun speeds of 9mb, and shake their heads in disbelief as BT adverts talk of high speed broadband as if it is available every where.

Virgin have the same problem, but if you are lucky enough to be able to get your broadband and phone through their cable service, I would recommend them.

As for Branson on Trade Unionism, I guess he cuts his cloth according to which country he operates in. Anti Trade Unionism in the USA is hardly news, but I don't see him as I see the Murdoch empire. I seem to be the only Trade Unionist and Labour supported who still boycotts Murdoch products because of Wapping. Which is important to say as the only point of taking Virgin TV would be to access Sky, as it offers little else that can't be seen on freeview, freesat or by downloading a film.

One reasonable technical compromise in the Stratford area is to get your broadband through a mobile dongle, but then the mobile companies are hardly shining examples of enlightened tax paying employers.

Good luck with your boycott but I stil think Murdoch is the better target.

John Gray said...

Hi Bob

I can assure you that you are not the only Labour/TU supporter who still boycotts Murdoch. However, we cannot dismiss Branson as playing to American prejudices. Apart from the fact that often whatever starts across the pond lands over here. It is clear from the video that Branson is anti-trade union and if he can get away with things over there he will do the same here.

I will warn you that the virgin media customer service is absolutely dross. I don't blame the staff, they are clearly overworked and under resourced but sometime in the future you will be let down, time and time again. I got a email from a women (she had seen a previous post) only a couple of weeks ago in near despair at their treatment of her.

bob smith said...


BT are still the pits.

John Gray said...

Hi Bob

Probably but virgin are far, far worse.

Which? best buys are Zen Internet 84%, then Be 81% and Eclipse 77%. Virgin near bottom with 55% (BT 48%).

Freeview HD looks like a good replacement for the telly.

Anonymous said...

Benefits already available from the Olympics include public transport inmprovements and lots of shiny new shops with the job opportunities they bring.

Some of these things may have come without the Olympics, but not so soon. In West Yorkshire, Westfield have a site in the centre of Bradford and haven't laid a brick.

bob smith said...

I'm never sure why people who post on blogs remain anonymous - is it because they are scared of what they say or is it because the comment is being posted by an organisation that has an axe to grind? Just to clarify, my comments about Olympic benefits was specifically about BT. As your anonymous commentator widens the debate, it is worth noting that unemployment rates in Newham remain significantly higher than the UK and European average, and Hackney, an Olympic Borough, has one of the worst in the country. This might suggest that the new employment opportunities are not being taken up by Newham and Hackney residents.

However, I don't think an informed debate about the benefits of the Olympics can be had until the games are over, the dust has settled and the costs are weighed against the profits, both monetary and social.

In other blogs John has said that benefits are obvious (I paraphrase) but there are recent Olympics, Athens in particular, that have cost too much and delivered few benefits. Let's hope we have got it right in the UK.

John Gray said...

I think that the benefits to Newham is pretty obvious from the Olympics although I agree that it will take time to assess the wider national costs and benefits. East London as a whole has always underperformed economically when compared to the rest of London. What the Olympic Park, Westfield and all the other regeneration in Newham will do is help bring East London up to at least the London average for economic prosperity.

I've just wasted 10 minutes at the virgin web site trying to see how I cancel their services. You have to ring. I then spend another 10 minutes on the phone going through menus and tapping in passwords before I was informed that customer services was closed till tomorrow. Typical...

Anonymous said...

Mr Gray,

Your attack on Richard Branson is disgraceful. If your post had been about some other businessman, I would have ignored it.

There are two types of CEOs. Those whose only skill is they got there by climbing greasy corporate ladder (e.g. Fred Goodwin) and the other are true entrepreneurs and wealth creators.

Virgin's branson started his company with nothing and now employs 50,000.

You clearly, cant see the distinction these two type of CEOs.

Have unions every createed a single job? Have unions ever created a single penny of wealth?

What would you know? Have you risked your home to create a single penny of wealth?

Business owners have a lot of stress and have to worry about sales / revenue on a monty by month basis. Of course, you don't need to worry, life is easy, turn up to work and then check your money is in your bank.

Yet you demand equality in wealth between rich and poor. Why should Branson hand over his cash to you, when you have not taken any of the risks of an entrepreneur??

You don't take any risks and keep your head below the parapet.

You sit on this committee and that committee. You have done nothing, other then give long speeches......

If you want to campaign for something useful, how about tax free for entrepreneur to create companyies up to £5m. (although no tax, but the jobs created would be invaluable).

Anonymous said...

Mr Gray,

With reference to the Olympics, you clearly fail to understand Westfield in terms of the economy.

Westfield (and the big brand shops) are "exporting" money out of East End and into the hands of shareholders. The 10,000 low paid retail jobs won't do much to lift to local economy.

You displaced 5,000 jobs out of Olympic site.

John Gray said...

Hi anon

Trade Union recognition is a basic human right laid down in a UN charter. Anyone who campaigns against this is disgraceful in my view. History tells us that there are a number of businessmen (and women) who have made money by exploiting workers.

Virgin Media is in many areas a monopoly which ruthlessly exploits its position to fleece its customers. I will post later on my latest experiences of trying to close my account with probably the most vicious and nasty organisation about. Branson owns this “brand”.

With regard to your dig about the unions and jobs I think you ought to reflect on which countries in Europe have fared best from this totally unnecessary Bankers recession we are all suffering from.

The countries which have far greater trade union density and rights for unions (Germany, Sweden, Norway etc) are frankly doing far, far better better than us.

For your information I have previously been self employed and have in the recent past “risked” my home over a point of principle.

It is very tough being self employed but thanks to this Tory cuts recession people such as my brother in law who works in the building trade is facing disaster.

I will of course admit to being elected to committees (it’s called democracy) and making occasionally long (and admittedly very boring) speeches. Yes, it's called democracy.

I would rather give tax breaks to entrepreneurs to employ young people. If you build a business worth £5 million you should pay tax. In fact you should” like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


John Gray said...

Hi Anon 13.57

I do not understand how anyone can think that Westfield “exports” money? What was there beforehand? Disused railway land/lines? How much rates did that generate? The Westfield site is in any case a different site from the Olympic Park. I would guess that most of Westfield shares are actually owned by pension and insurance funds? Ever heard of workers capital?

I will try and find out but my guess is that the average wage in Westfield compares pretty well with the average retail wage in Newham (if not the average wage).

I use to run/cycle thru the present day Olympic site every day for years. You are talking nonsense I am afraid. Queen Elizabeth Park and all the regeneration going on in Newham will transform East London.