Smelly toilets, smokers and the Kardashians. Virgin Media staff grill top brass

'New 'soft closers' good, but the acrylic panels make the bogs look like a CDT project

Smelly toilets, smoking outside and questions as to who is the best Kardashian: these were just some of the issues Virgin Media top brass were grilled on in a Q&A session with staff seen by The Register.

Many of Virgin Media's staff are worried about their future following its mega merger with US biz Liberty Global - as revealed by The Register.

However, concerns over the minutiae of day-to-day office life - which will no doubt resonate with most wage slaves - were also high on the list. It's just this time the exec team had to answer.

One staffer demanded to know what the situation was with cleaners in its Hook office in Hampshire.

"Desks which are not used often are full of dust and extremely unpleasant to work from (especially for us unfortunate asthmatics) unless you spend a good 15 minutes wiping everything. Even Mike Ashley pays cleaners at! With a hefty bonus to boot."

Responding, Virgin Media's chief finance officer Robert Dunn promised to raise the issue with the building manager.

Another, complained under the anonymous handle of 'facilities' of the poor bog situation in VM's contact centres.

"The toilets on-site are disgraceful, the smell, the amount of times they are cleaned... I think at least three times a week I am walking into a toilet and finding the floor soaking."

'Toilet user' agreed, adding: "With reference to 'facilities' question above, there were some 'extensive upgrade's done in the Hook office toilets, which unfortunately seemed a bit of a waste of time, money and convenience.

"The toilet seats were upgraded to soft closers, which arguably means less slamming of toilet seats.

"But on the negative side, white acrylic panels were fitted behind the hand dryers, which look like they were made in a secondary school CDT lesson and the taps were replaced by ones that quickly became covered in limescale and looked far worse than the originals. All this took several weeks to complete. Is this the right use of investment?

Dunn said there is an extensive upgrade programme ongoing for facilities.

He told 'toilet user' Virgin considered the investment to be a good use of money given the "years of under spend" that Liberty inherited.

"Sorry to disappoint, feel free to bring in some descaler!"

More general moans abounded. 'Sgt Pepper' asked why staff couldn't use another entrance to one of its building. Adding smokers now go to the front of the building "which is not ideal."

Another asked that that private usage of vans for network engineers is looked at.

"Imagine, been on call day after day tied to your house, not able to venture out, not able to watch the kids dance, play football, visit family, go shopping etc. If you are not called out it feels you have wasted the weekend/evening. The benefits would be great, we could have a life on call and be able to react whilst still enjoying family life .. PLEASE can this be seriously considered?"

'Healthy Veggie' wanted to see some healthy eating choices "in ALL of our canteens" adding there were no healthy breakfast options in one of the canteens. "Are there any plans to change that?"

Dunn suggested that issue be "raised locally".

Staff also took the time to shoot the shit with the management.

One staffer asked executive director of finance Gregor McNeil how successful Virgin's reality TV HayU app has been and "Whats your favourite Kardashian?"

McNeil responded that Virgin is focused on "driving increased awareness" of the app. "And whilst it [Keeping up with the Kardashians] is on my house I'm afraid I don't watch it myself so don't have a favourite - I'm too busy watching Kingdom & Magic City!"

'Captain Slow' asked chief operating officer Paul Buttery what his next car will be?

"I fancy going back to a hot hatch like the A45 AMG but am getting a bit old for all the spoilers so will de-spec those!"

Naturally the perennial issue of crap tech got a mention. The company's lack of investment within IT is stifling, said one staffer.

"We have BB's which are not fit for purpose and most of the SLT have iPhones, which seems unfair and tells a story, we cannot work collaboratively which is embarrassing when we are expected to sell the solutions to our customers yet we are not able to use them ourselves.

He asked if there were any plans to tackle that.

Managing director Peter Kelly expressed sympathy. "I hear you. No magic wand as funds are limited. We are in investing in SFDC, Cloudsense and we did put iPads in the hands of the field salespeople two years ago. We will continue to invest in the IT, but we are lacking some capabilities in our IT stack.

"Let me take [this] away with Colin Miles and the IT team to clarify the current roadmap."

Until next time, folks. ®

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