Just days after putting 28 staff on notice of redundancy, troubled charity HorseWorld’s managing director Mark ‘Not That One’ Owen and chairman of trustees John L Newman are obviously feeling the same extreme levels of worry and fear as those whose jobs are actually on the line. How else could one explain their movements these past couple of weeks?
You’ll recall, by way of background, that serial bungler Owen managed to lose millions of pounds of the charity’s money since joining just a few years ago. He then spectacularly failed to get his flawed planning application – backed by three trustees with professional property development interests – past clued-up councillors.
So this January kicked off with them handing notice to dozens of their low-paid staff that they probably won’t have a job in a few weeks’ time. It’s to the credit of the hard-working animal lovers who actually keep HorseWorld going that despite all the stress and uncertainty caused by their idiot bosses they have simply been getting on with caring for horses and donkeys.
Meanwhile, their esteemed MD? Gone ski-ing. Yes, an expensive week-long skiing holiday for Mister-80k-Per-Annum-Plus-Shiny-28k-Audi Mark Pinnochiowen.
Rome, burning? Pass me my fiddle!
And the Chairman of Trustees? Surely he’s around to field the flak and take the concerns of staff to heart? Well, er, no actually. He’s said to be sunning it in Barbados, returning in a few weeks’ time.
The need for these hard-pressed holidaymakers to pack their cases and ship out suddenly might just explain the careless and hurried approach to their redundancy announcement two weeks ago.
Having ordered the affected 28 in a meeting that they were not to go public, or involve unions, and to keep the whole thing in-house, word naturally leaked out and found itself in your humble ‘Smiter’.
Cue a boardroom panic, a quick purchase of Employment Law For Dummies, and lo and behold, the next day a press release was issued (which even the
Evening Bristol Post was highly sceptical of), claiming the charity is consulting on redundancies with ALL staff (except the MD, presumably).
So, to recap: first scare the life out of 28 people. Then extend the fear to roughly sixty. While they quake and tremble in the wake of your redundancy process fuck-ups, what do you do? Leave the country. Simples.
Can it be long before these muppets start offering expensive consultancy packages on crisis management?