Letters: Workers should not be made to cover for bosses

Dealing with concerned callers can be tough. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Dealing with concerned callers can be tough. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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I contacted the city council just after 10am on Tuesday, December 17, and reported that the rubbish chute in my tenement was bunged up, and had been for a few days. I was assured it would be sorted within four hours. It was not. In fact, it was not sorted out at all that day.

I phoned the following day, explaining how it could become a health hazard, and was assured it would be dealt with that day. It did not happen. I phoned again the next day, Thursday, explaining the circumstances, as hereinbefore mentioned, and was re-re-assured that it would be dealt with that day. By Saturday the scenario remained the same.

I now realise these poor girls who answer the phones are enforced to become liars for their employers, which is unacceptable and intolerable.

I would suggest that legislation ought to be brought out, insisting that any employee who is requested to lie to the public for his/her boss should be required to report that boss to the appropriate authorities and be dealt with through the law.

William Burns, Pennywell Road, Edinburgh

Migrants are pawns in an ugly Tory game

It is interesting to note the Tories tying themselves in knots as they try to stave off UKIP and eurosceptic backbenchers through calling for a cap of 75,000 on the number of EU immigrants entering the country.

The catalyst for this is concerns over Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants “flooding” the country when the UK opens its labour market to them on January 1.

Trying to restrict the movement of EU citizens, as Prime Minister Cameron, pictured, is proposing, is illegal as the free movement of persons is a fundamental right guaranteed to EU citizens by treaties, something the UK Government was surely aware of when it signed up to these.

In addition the numbers being bandied about of those entering from Romania and Bulgaria are simple scaremongering.

The UK today is less attractive to would-be immigrants than it was ten years ago when it opened its borders to the eight largely Eastern European countries that joined the EU. Immigrants who incidentally, according to a study conducted by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, made a positive contribution to the country’s public finances in each fiscal year since their EU accession.

In 2004 only the UK and two other countries did away with almost all restrictions for workers from these eight countries. This time all EU countries are opening their labour markets to Romanians and Bulgarians and the UK economy is not in great condition.

The potential influx of Romanians and Bulgarians into the UK may therefore be more an issue of perception than reality, pawns in an increasingly ugly game as the Tories fight for their political survival.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Time to start a cull of our excess politicians

The scandal where members of the House of Lords clock in to qualify for £300 a day allowance and immediately leave prompted me to look at the number of politicians we employ.

House of Lords 836, MEPs 78, MPs 650, MSPs 129, Welsh Assembly 60 and Northern Ireland 108.

It gets worse. There are more than 24,000 local councillors.

If one then adds in all the “hangers on”, support staff, expenses, office space, non-jobs and gold-plated pensions one can see we are haemorrhaging taxpayers’ money.

The UK is the most over-governed country in the world and a cull is long overdue.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Remember shop staff are people too

I WOULD like to wish your readers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. For many this is always an exciting time, but we know it can be frantic trying to get everything ready for the big day.

I want to gently remind your readers to remember that shopworkers are people as well. They will be working really hard to make your shopping experience as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.

A recent survey showed that every minute of the working day a shopworker is verbally abused, threatened with violence or physically attacked. Shopworkers report that incidents are more frequent in the run-up to Christmas as shops are busy, customers can be stressed and are more likely to take out their frustration on staff.

I know that verbal abuse cuts deep. Many will go home after a shift upset about an unpleasant incident that took place at work and worried that it will happen to them again.

That is why Usdaw, the shopworkers’ union, is running a Respect for Shopworkers campaign, asking customers to “Keep your cool at Christmas”. Remembering that shopworkers are working extra hard and treating them with respect will mean everyone can have a happier Christmas.

John Hannett, general secretary, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw)

Peace and goodwill,
but not for turkeys

Christmas is often thought of as a time of goodwill to all and peace on Earth.

But for the millions of turkeys killed for the UK’s Christmas dinners it is anything but a time of peace. Often raised in filthy, crowded conditions and then slaughtered at just a few months old, life for Britain’s turkeys is short and miserable.

And that’s not to mention the geese, pigs and other animals killed for the festive feast.

But it needn’t be this way. There are a wealth of delicious, meat-free alternatives to the traditional Christmas turkey, so why not spare an animal’s life this Christmas and try something new, different and cruelty-free?

Ben Martin, Animal Aid, Bradford Street, Tonbridge