Richard Branson’s holiday pickle

Did you see the recent Branson news where he advised that all employees should take off as much time from work as they like? And to prove that he is no Necker-lounging hypocrite he said that there will, in future, be no control on the amount of leave taken by Virgin staff. That is to say, people who work at Virgin.

On close inspection it appears that what Sir Richard actually said is that this new ‘rule that isn’t a rule at all’ only applies to the 170 folk who work on his personal staff. It does not apply to other working people in the great man’s empire, such as the flight attendants at Virgin Atlantic.

More research shows that the media-manipulating tycoon stated that his people may only take-off if they are 100 per cent up-to-date with their work – is anyone ever 100 per cent up-to-date with their to-do list?

It could be argued that, in fact, this generous and grand gesture does nothing more than take away a rather valuable employee benefit, namely a guaranteed and fixed holiday allocation.

This content-free release, like so many issued by the Branson organisation, does not appear to have generated the dismissive laughter that a robust and healthy press used to employ. When faced with nonsense such as this, especially when generated by self-publicists, editors and newsmen alike would relish the chance to rub salt into the self-inflicted wound.

Journalism used to rely upon a touch of cynicism – if it seems too good to be true it generally is too good to be true – but, alas, this attitude has left the newsroom on a holiday of its own.

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