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Press Hypocrites: Telegraph and MEN Wrong Over BBC Chairs

Telegraph and MEN round on 'ridiculous' policy - but employ it themselves

Written by . Published on June 16th 2011.


Press Hypocrites: Telegraph and MEN Wrong Over BBC Chairs

YOU may have seen a damning piece on the BBC’s decision to employ ‘chair champions’ at its new offices on Salford Quays.

The story related to staff having to pick new chairs then be instructed in how best to sit in them to avoid RSI and other musculoskeletal stress – standard Health and Safety policy with most, if not all large companies.

The story originated in the Manchester Evening News, which also operated a similar policy, called Back In Action, for any staff sat at their desks for long periods of time.

There was outrage in the usual quarters, such as The Daily Telegraph. However, we can reveal that another company recently moved into Salford Quays has just done exactly the same thing.

The Daily Telegraph, which has just opened a 4,000 sq ft sales office in Digital World Centre.

We phoned them up and asked if their staff had been given desk management training. They said: “Oh yes. Staff underwent a full induction programme and that was part of it.”

The story originated in the Manchester Evening News, which also operated a similar policy, called Back In Action, for any staff sat at their desks for long periods of time. They had to watch videos of how to sit up straight. 

We rang them up to ask if they still ran the scheme, but they didn’t call us back.

There was also outrage from Karen Garrido, leader of the Conservative Group in Salford City Council. But perhaps Councillor Garrido would think it more outrageous to discover the council had to endure 13,510 sicknesses days through musculoskeletal illness last year (April 2010 - March 11).

The BBC said: "Health and Safety training is standard practice for any organisation moving people into new premises. The BBC does not employ individual 'chair champions'. Chair adjustment is part of the overall induction process, which includes advice on using all the facilities in a new building.

“There are three types of chair and everybody gets the choice. We don't use the title 'chair champion' but it seems to be doing the rounds."

So it appears this story is no more than a bit of cheap BBC-bashing, which we’d expect from the national London-based media already embittered by the move. But from a local newspaper that employs the same policy…? Well, that just makes us plain uncomfortable.

Follow Simon Binns on Twitter @simonbinns

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Calum McGJune 16th 2011.

As someone who was hospitalised by having a rubbish chair, I fully support moves to educate people about the benefits of sitting properly. Good on the Beeb for wanting to look after its people - many employers don't give a toss (yet ironically if they did, there would be less sick days from back probs!).

mike_aJune 16th 2011.

Just goes to show that you shouldn't believe everything you read (does anyone read the MEN nowadays?).

AnonymousJune 16th 2011.

Good work, Binns. Reminds me of a story I read a few months back about the shocking news that a Holiday Inn used the name "Manchester" in its title when it was in - gasp - Salford Quays. The publisher of this exclusive? The "Manchester" Evening News, which had recently moved to its new offices. In Oldham.

Exclusive in tomorrow's MEN: Shock and horror as pot accuses kettle of being black.

Simon SmithJune 16th 2011.

Ali McG, the public sector is notorious for sick leave of all types. It'll take more than training course in how to sit to persuade many of them from taking their full sick leave 'entitlement'! Strong management and threats of dismissal on incapability grounds are the best ways to do that.

When I worked briefly in the private sector I was sent on a days course on how to use email! Wasting taxpayers money is standard practice.

Brian CharlesworthJune 16th 2011.

It is kick the BBC season which is stupid given that it is our greatest brand as a country. Unlike the publications which have attacked it.

CBJune 17th 2011.

great work Binns.

SquirrelitoJune 17th 2011.

Good work, Mancon

AnonymousJune 17th 2011.

Thanks for picking up on this - I was especially disappointed to see this stupid thing was written by Pamela Welsh, who is normally one of the MEN's more solid writers.

AdamJune 20th 2011.

But the point here is the over the top way the BBC are delivering this project, annoying staff in the process. The hypocrites line doesn't really stand up as the Press are private companies, and the public sector should be open to scrutiny. Of course, your superb work here wouldn't have been driven by a desire to try and show up a rival, would it?

Brian CharlesworthJune 20th 2011.

The Daily Telegraph are not really rivals are they of Mancon?

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