Sunday, June 29, 2008

On The Publican forum 29.6.08

This is a personal posting, not representing Fair Pint.

I can assure anyone reading these forums that this enquiry will NOT be like the last one. Everyone is better prepared this time - both sides I'm sure - and to some extent the same people are involved on both sides and on the committee. This means the ground is more familiar and everyone is more in tune with what was intended to be achieved last time. Last time observers, the committee, the press and public, had to get their heads round something they didn't know existed: GROSS INEQUITY AND UNFAIRNESS in the pub industry. The theme is more familiar now and more people understand what has been going on for decades. The Emperor's New Clothes are wearing thin.

There can be no doubt this time that, once again, the PubCos believe they have it all sewn up. They believe they can prove that the 2004 recommendations have been implemented across the estates. They believe they are right, they believe their model works. They think they have lobbied all the right people well enough for their smoke and mirrors evidence to convince. And their fall back thought is the belief that they are such important financial institutions that, ultimately, there is no way politicians are going to risk fiddling with the PubCo model and destabilising and rocking the foundations or the economy.

They are wrong.

PubCos have had four years of Good Times paying lip service to the 2004 hearings while the other side has had another four years of penury and angst as the result of PubCos continuing to completely ignore any moral responsibilities they have towards their business ‘partners’ – the licensees, publicans and lessees who make the PubCos ALL their money and get precious little in return for a grinding 60 plus hour 52 weeks a year lifestyle.

It has gone too far. The PubCos behaviour and practices have far exceeded the avarice of the old brewers whose power was broken in the name of fairness… If there is any justice in 2008 it will be the end of the PubCos as we saw the brewers’ power end twenty years ago. This time it will not be done thoughtlessly.

It is up to US - licensees, publicans, lessees - the people who pull the pints, the people who do all the work – to decide where this industry is going. That’s why I signed up to Fair Pint.

How many people do the PubCos employ between them compared with how many lessees, tenants and their employees? There should be no contest. Cut out the middle men!

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