Sunday, 25 August 2013

Merlin Entertainments Group

BFTF recently purchased a set of "Merlin Annual Passes" for the BFTF family. These passes allow pretty much unlimited entry to the UK attractions owned by the Merlin Entertainments Group, including Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Sealife, The London Eye and Madame Tussauds.

Lots of reasons for making this purchase, but the reason for mentioning it here is that BFTF expects some related bloggage to emerge, which is listed below:

Great Staff - are they paid a "Living Wage"?
Great Staff at Legoland
Great Staff at Thorpe Park
The Environmental Policy and Sustainable Paper.
FSC paper at Alton Towers?
Related Content.

A big spider at Legoland!

Great Staff - are they paid a "Living Wage"
Following visits to Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park, BFTF sent off the following to Merlin Entertainments :

"My family and I have recently purchased Merlin Annual Passes. Our first outings with these were to Legoland Windsor and Thorpe Park - and I wanted to say, via yourselves, a big thank you to the helpful, hardworking and cheerful staff who made both trips so enjoyable for us. These team members, many of whom are teenagers or young adults, were great ambassadors for their generation, and I wish them all the very best for the future.

I note from the Wikipedia entry for Merlin Entertainments that it has had a complicated history, with many buy-outs and ownership changes. Indeed, it appears to have been treated as something of a corporate plaything over the years.

I'm not too worried about the top dogs who are running the organisation - I am sure they are looking after themselves perfectly well. But I do care about the staff operating on the front line and wonder whether their pay and conditions are a fair reward for the effort and goodwill they contribute to the business.

You will note that I used the work "fair" and not the word "competitive".

I believe that the front line staff at Merlin Entertainments should be paid at least a Living Wage (currently £8.55 per hour in the London area, £7.45 elsewhere) and would like to ask whether Merlin Entertainments is currently doing this, and if not, provide some evidence as to why they can't adopt this policy.

I would also like to ask how Merlin Entertainments knows that the suggestions and views of its front line staff are given the attention and priority that they undoubtedly deserve.

Hoping you can respond to these two points."

Update Aug 2013:
Received a response from Merlin which said:
"With regards to your question on pay, this is not something that we would be able to or even required to provide you with"

"The Swarm" at Thorpe Park, against a setting sun.

Great Staff at Legoland
The email below was sent to the Legoland Windsor feedback email addresss:
"We visited Legoland on 24th August and was impressed by the way in which the front-line staff stayed cheerful and friendly despite having to work in almost constant rain. I hope you can pass on my thanks to them - their dedication really made the day for us.

In particular, I noticed the team member on the "Boating School" ride, working hard to wipe down each incoming boat, and still managing to greet the people coming off the queue in a friendy manner and then help them into the boats - all while working in the open in the rain.

I am not sure I would have kept my composure in similar circumstances!"

The finale of the Pirates show at Legoland,
with the pirates jumping from several stories high into the lake below

Great Staff at Thorpe Park
The email below was sent to the Thorpe Park feedback page:

"Hoping you can pass on my thanks to Luke and the team on the Flying Fish ride (25th August) who made the experience so enjoyable for my youngest son (who rode the ride 13 times!) and for me as a spectator. Luke, in particular, went the extra mile to really engage with the customers in a characterful way (as opposed to just "going through the motions" of providing the instructions to the roller coastees.)"

BFTF would dearly like to know the history to
this ride restriction statement on a ride at Thorpe Park

The Environmental Policy and Sustainable Paper.
The following sent off to Merlin Entertainments :

"As an Annual Pass holder, I am starting to note that Merlin Entertainments must be printing an awful lot of maps of their various attractions - and wonder what kind of paper they are being printed on.

I note that the "Our Environment" section of the Merlin website states that Merlin takes the time to understand "How to develop our products in line with broad environmental needs." and would like to ask whether, in keeping with this philosophy, the paper used for the maps of your attractions is recycled or genuinely sustainably sourced.

Please note that "recycled" means made using post-consumer waste and that "genuinely" means FSC certified or equivalent and not standards such as ISO14001 or PEFC, which are very weak."

FSC Paper at Alton Towers
Inspecting the map given to visitors to Alton Towers, BFTF noticed that it had a FSC logo on it, denoting that the paper had been made from sustainably sourced wood.

This is A GOOD THING, so BFTF sent off an email to Alton Towers to say that this was important to me and also to say thank you for acting in a sustainable manner rather than just talking about it:

Just wanted to say thank you for "walking that walk" about sustainability by printing your resort maps on FSC paper. This means a lot to me and I really appreciate you doing this. To me, it is a more powerful way of generating positive goodwill than any number of flashy TV adverts. Thanks again and looking forward to visiting Alton Towers again soon.


Riders on Oblivion - going into the ground at a great speed

The Smiler is a...complicated... bit of engineering

Happy Memories from the '80s

Related Content
Positive Muslim Stories
Challenging Halfords on Wages
Sustianable paper at a local mosque
Praising ASDA on stocking recycled paper noteboooks

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