From the TUC

Roddagate: Of clots and climb downs

19 May 2011, By

Perhaps the u-turns and climb downs pioneered by this Coalition are catching.

On Sunday Andrew Rodda, operations manager at premier Cornish clotted cream firm A E Rodda was quoted in the Observer giving his considered views on pay rises for staff.

He told the paper that he pays “slightly above” the minimum wage but reckons staff can be unduly spendthrift.

“We’re all told you must go on holiday all the time and do all these other things,” he complained. “There’s more to be gained from teaching employees how to manage their money more effectively than giving them more money to mismanage.”

Perhaps it was because he was safe in the warm embrace of the Institute of Directors when interviewed that Rodda felt comfortable espousing views more suitable for when the firm was founded in 1890.

He probably hadn’t considered if it was a mite hypocritical having told a profile he enjoyed skiing twice a year and endurance quad biking.

And since this has been a family-owned firm from the start and remains tightly in their control he probably doesn’t have that same fear about stepping out of line that others may have.

Nonetheless, the clot from Cornwall quickly found out that people don’t take kindly to such patronising comments. Within a day #roddaclot was doing the rounds on Twitter and there were calls from union members and Cornish councillors for a boycott.

With both The Daily Express and South West Business highlighting criticism it didn’t take long for the humble pie to come out.

Today managing director Nicholas Rodda has apologised for the comments of his brother saying:

“We regret any offence or upset this has caused. We pay considerably over the minimum wage… We also pay a bonus in the summer and at Christmas, our busiest times.”

This is more than simply pointing out the idiocies of executives. It also highlights the fact that wages in Cornwall are notoriously low while the cost of living is on the rise. It’s not an issue you’re likely to find discussed much in the media. Sometimes even clots have their uses.

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