Ft - Jac Roper - Service Centre

Charge! Is the EV market going to be a battle?

There is a lot more coverage of the electric vehicle market than ever before. It’s everywhere: loads more EVs being manufactured/not enough EVs being produced; chargers being announced left, right and centre/not nearly enough chargers to go round and so forth.

Lots of serious articles; not too many hoots. Although I was very amused by Adam Kay’s article in The Sunday Times magazine titled My electric car hell. (Adam Kay is a British comedy writer, author, comedian and former doctor. He is best known as author of the number-one bestselling book This Is Going to Hurt.)

He says he wanted to do his bit for the planet and wound up buying a Jaguar I-Pace. Then he quickly realises that he’s got another electrical device he can forget to charge along with his phone, laptop, wireless keyboard, etc.

He spends three hours trying different plugs and extension leads before the engineer explains that car chargers don’t work that way and can only be plugged into mains. So, either knock down a wall and park it in the living room or get help. An electrician can fit an outside charging point in a month’s time.

Finally, a journey. Armed with an app called Zap-Map, the first two stations he tries are out-of-order. At the third he has an hour wait. As he says: “The vehicle technology may be space-age, but the infrastructure is decidedly Cretaceous.”

His subsequent adventures on the road include military planning of journeys, roadworks mucking up said planning and running out of juice.

Funny until it happens to you, which reminds me of a recent incident regarding my husband’s laptop. He opened it up and it exploded. Lithium battery. Burnt a big hole in his desk; he grabbed it to throw it outside but dropped it whereupon it burnt a big slice of wooden floor plus carpet. Laptop wound up as one big hole with a bit of keyboard and some screen around it.

“Get down here,” he shouted up at me (dripping wet, just out of shower) as smoke and soot were already pluming upstairs. Scary how quickly it took over the house.

Okay, we survived. But can you imagine a car’s lithium battery exploding like that?

A friend, who manages a recycling centre says he spends more time fire-fighting than managing because of the number of exploding lithium batteries.

I’m quite worried.

All change at Nisa and Co-op

 On 21 July I got an anonymous tip off on my helpline that Nisa would be making redundancies from that very day. Indeed it proved to be the case with the story breaking a few hours later. The tip-off mentioned cost savings of £50m which seemed high considering the 300-odd redundancies planned (although perhaps they were adding in the 400 further planned by its owner Co-op at its own sites).

I was speaking to a retailer who owns two forecourt sites with Nisa stores who said he thought £50m was a bit of an exaggeration.

He said: “We have a new CEO who has inherited a bit of a big mess and is starting to try cleaning it up. Not sure what Co-op intends for Nisa but does not make sense to have Nisa buyers when Co-op buyers can also buy for Nisa hence the redundancy. Nisa costs to me are out of control and require urgent attention.

“Nisa sales are down big time as so many of us so-called partners are buying more and more outside of Nisa at far better prices. I hope the new CEO can change things for the better. We will have to see over the coming months.”

Were you aware of this?

As legislation previously stood, employers were obliged to issue employees with a written statement of employment particulars within two months of their start date, if their contract lasts for one month or longer.

But according to the Employment Law Advice Bureau there was a new ruling on employment contracts issued fairly recently.

It says: “The Good Work Plan introduced in 2020 requires employers to provide a statement of main terms of employment (an employment contract) from day one of employment.”

And it warns: “Employers who have not issued contracts to their staff could see tribunal awards of anywhere between two to four weeks’ pay.”

It adds: “In any case, it is best practice to have the employee sign and date the contract and return it back to you. This is mainly for two main reasons.”

Firstly it demonstrates that you are meeting your legal obligation to provide a written statement of particulars to an employee and secondly it specifies the terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties in the event of a future dispute.

Finally it points out: “A signature can be handwritten or provided electronically. It can take the form of, for example, typing your full name, signing on a touch screen device with your finger or pen, or electronically pasting in your signature. Even if you do this, it is recommended that you give the employee a printed copy or an electronic version with their signature clearly visible.”

You can email your queries, news and views to Jac@roper-biz.co.uk or call 0208 8502 9775