Update 10 April 2020 1.15pm
We hope you are safe and well.
We also appreciate that merely reading this will be difficult for those of you who know people who have suffered at the hands of coronavirus. Our thoughts are with you.
As most of you will already know, the government yesterday extended the UK lockdown and said that the “lockdown measures will have to stay in place until we've got the evidence that clearly shows we've moved beyond the peak".
Obviously, Burrows remains closed during this period and you all remain on furlough.
In the meantime, I thought I would also let you know that our Keyworker Response Team handling both calls and emails, as well as our guys in Doncaster workshop are doing a fantastic job at helping out our emergency services when they are in need of help to remain mobile. This team has been pretty much flat out since the day we closed, going above and beyond the call of duty – we really appreciate your efforts!
Likewise, our team of two on the financial side are crunching numbers and collecting debts – thank you for your enormous efforts too.
Updates on the Job Retention Scheme
We have been communicating to you by letter regularly with regards to any furlough updates and recently on holiday pay. The precise way in which this works is slowly becoming clearer as the government piece together the finer detail. It is by no means complete but it is slowly getting there.
We do now know that the 80% of pay will be based on average earnings including contractual commissions, bonus and overtime up to the maximum of £2,500, so we believe that helps many of you. Still, we have yet to see the final detail on how the system will calculate this and we will communicate with you further as we approach payroll time.
You may not be aware that Burrows took the decision the day the job retention scheme was announced that we would apply this to every person in the business including all managers and directors and that no person would receive above the £2,500 maximum. Our rationale being, quite simply, we want the Burrows business to survive and everyone of us are in it together.
Let’s hope the coronavirus peak is soon reached and passed and we can begin a countdown to the lifting of government sanctions but in the meantime we are all too aware that it has to continue.
It doesn’t particularly feel like it, and it’s far from a normal one but we hope you enjoythe bank holiday.
And don’t let the boredom set in!
Quote: “You’ll find boredom where there is the absence of a good idea”
So, what are you going to challenge yourself to do? What ideas do you have?
Here’s some that we’ve been hearing of (from some of you too);
Steve and Dean
Update 1 April 2020 3.30 pm
Thank you for your response to the second furlough letter, we had a 100% response again. We will send out another letter to follow up on this temporary change to your contract and explain a couple of questions we have been asked.
We said in the last communication that we would update you on our plans to help key workers amongst other things so here we go…
The government lockdown does provide for garages to stay open to accommodate essential repairs for key workers such as NHS staff, public workers and so on. Burrows do, of course, have a number of customers who fall into this category and we have had our first contacts from customers who have a tyre puncture or similar.
So far this is limited, and it may well remain so as these key workers are pretty much flat out and will only need us when they have an urgent requirement.
Our plan is to provide a service point where we can try and resolve the concern and keep them mobile if we at all can.
Therefore, the Doncaster site will become our location for key worker help and we will operate a small ‘Keyworker Response Team’ to get through this work.
Oonagh Hall will be employed to compile our April payroll. In April we will be paying any overtime, commissions and bonus due for March as normal. April basic salaries will be in accordance with the furlough letter.
Digital and Telephone Enquiries
We have a small team of people involved in handling all inbound telephone calls and digital sales enquiries. The sales enquiries are very low at this point as you would expect.
We are working on reducing every cost we can to get these down to the bare minimum during our closure period. This is a massive but crucial task as I’m sure you will all appreciate but is essential for our survival.
Advice for you, our Burrows Team
In just the same way as we are grappling with our cost reduction and cash flow, are you doing the same?
We know it’s obvious, but have you done the following:
Here is a very useful link on money advice;
And here’s a couple which cover mortgage and rental payments;
OTHER TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS
Stay in touch with people
Most people have smartphones or tablets or internet access and these are in massive use during the current crisis.
You may already use some or all of these, but we thought we’d list some here in case they are of use.
WhatsApp – used by billions for chat, did you know you can conference call up to 3 other people? Also, you can video conference call. A great way to stay in touch with family and friends. Use WiFi so no extra cost.
Facetime is similar and is Apples’ version. There are others too.
Zoom video conferencing – we are using for business meetings and it works great. Use it for staying in touch, sharing screens, running quizzes etc. We heard from someone who cares for parents and took their tablet to let them have a video conference with their grandkids – lots of uses!
Stay Healthy (in body and mind)
Get out and go for a walk – avoid cabin fever. Don’t travel to nice places for a walk save money by not using fuel.
Those with children teach them how to cook? Using ingredients in the house so you don’t have to go shopping so often?
Bike rides are a great way of getting fit and seeing a bit more.
Take up running!
We’ve already heard there’s some of you following the PE Lessons with Joe Wicks on YouTube.
Supporting those who need it most
Have you considered volunteering for the NHS go to goodsamapp.org/NHS. There are a number of important volunteering roles:
Delivering medicines from pharmacies.
Driving patients to appointments
Bring patients home from hospital.
Making a call to people who are self-isolating, to name but a few!
We will stay in touch and in the meantime please Stay Safe.
Update 30 March 2020 10.20 am
To all Burrows Employees
We hope you and your families are all well from a health perspective and are coping with the very strange conditions we are facing in our daily lives.
Again, we would like to thank you for the way in which you helped us to close and secure our premises and vehicles last week. We saw our teams pulling together as one like never before and it made us feel immensely proud of the effort you all put in.
Thank you also for replying to the furlough letter – we had a 100% agreement to this proposal.
We do, however, need your help to do this again today and this is because of the timing of the furlough start date.
As you know, we had to close on the 24th March (Tuesday). At the point of writing to you on the 25th March the government stipulated that vehicles with an MOT that ran out by 30th March must have that MOT done or owners would have to take their vehicles off the road. We therefore decided that our furlough start date was to be 31st March to accommodate this.
We then contacted all our customers with MOT’s due by 30th March and managed to book them in to Thursday 26th and a small team of technicians, service and parts advisors and managers came in to work on these vehicles. We thank you for your fantastic response to the ever-changing situation and for looking after our customers.
This means that we can change our furlough date so that it starts for the vast majority of you from 25th March and for those people that worked on the MOTs it will be 27th March.
The advantages to this adjustment are:
1. The company is able to claim from the government from the earlier date – very important as it benefits the business and also reflects the date you were actually furloughed and unable to come in to work. This is not an insignificant amount and will help us to offset the huge costs we incurred in the last week of March by being closed.
2. Also, importantly, the government has stipulated that for a business to claim the furlough grant the employee has to have been furloughed for a 3 week period and therefore, if the government do ease back on the lockdown as early as say 14th April it means we can get back to opening the business
sooner because we would not be able to afford to miss out on the 3 week grant from the government for furloughed workers which would delay us to the 20th April.
3. It also means that we do not need to treat any of the days between 25th March and 31st March as holidays taken and I have added to the new letter the way we now believe the government is treating holidays which allows you to roll forward for a two year period.
4. I can also confirm that your pay between 25th March (27th for our ‘MOT team’) and 31st March will be at 100% before any reduced amount from 1st April – this is also detailed in the furlough letter which you will receive.
The rest of the content of the letter remains unchanged.
We ask that you respond today with your reply as before.
We will also be sending you out another communication shortly to update you on how we are planning to tackle key worker essential repairs, ensure we can run the April payroll should we remain closed during that time and a section on useful advise and ideas.
Stay safe and we will continue to stay in touch using the URL above as well as your contact details.
If you change your contact details please inform us on email@example.com
Update 24th March 2020 3.30 pm
Further to our note earlier today we are now writing to inform you of our next steps.
Firstly, though, can we offer a huge thank you for your help, hard work and understanding throughout this incredible difficult time. Steve, Louise and myself, really appreciate your support and we know you have been doing everything you can to keep things going for Burrows.
We must, however, now turn our attention to business survival and keeping our heads above water so we have a business to return to, whenever that may be.
To fully explain the position, we will be writing to every one of you on the email address you have given us for payroll purposes. This letter is a very important document that must read fully and digested so that you understand the company position.
So that you understand the background to the financials in the retail motor sector I have explained below some simple facts that almost all motor dealerships face.
The reality of the retail motor sector is that we work on very low bottom line profits which are controlled and dictated very much by the franchise manufacturer, and the simple fact that we sell a high value product for a small profit.
Whether it is a very large group, a medium size group (like us) or an individual operator the ratio of our MONTHLY payroll cost will be approximately twice our ANNUAL profit. And then we have all our fixed costs on top of this including mortgage, rent, rates, insurance and so on.
It is also not just a question of profits because in order to survive hard times we must have cash and most of our cash is used to fund stock and debtors and the ability to turn these into liquid cash is non-existent if there are no sales and companies are withholding payment.
The situation we face today is absolutely unprecedented and without doubt, if the Government were not offering support for employees, then most of the retail motor sector would not survive for long.
The letter you receive will detail our plans to see us through the coming weeks as well as explain the pay options. Please be mindful that this letter will require an urgent response from you so that we can put plans into place rapidly.
As I stated before we will close for normal business as of this evening for at least the three week period set out by the Government. We are also looking at how we can carry out essential repairs for key workers as and when they arise and do our part to support not only our customers but the community.
Do stay safe and we will stay in touch using the URL above as well as your contact details.
If you change your contact details please inform us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Update 24th March 2020
URGENT UPDATE TO ALL BURROWS EMPLOYEES FOLLOWING THE GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT YESTERDAY EVENING
You will have all heard the announcement by the Prime Minister yesterday evening and have had many questions as to how this applies to you and Burrows.
Again, in this confusing situation, it takes time to get the detail of the Government approach through and more has unfolded both overnight and this morning.
With the best interests of all our people and our customers Burrows will be closing all our sites as of this evening. The legislation which will be passed so that it comes into play on Thursday does provide for ‘garages’ to stay open for essential repair work and we understand there is no pause on MOT’s for vehicles, particularly for key workers can still be maintained.
However, this does not mean we will have parts availability and may render our customer cars off road which is not a situation we wish to invoke. We will work out how to address emergency customer requirements over the next day or so.
So today is about closing down our business in an orderly fashion and help all our customers with cars booked in to understand the reasons why we are taking this step.
We will update you further as soon as we are able.
Meanwhile, keep observing all social distancing and hygiene requirements and stay safe.
Update 23rd March 2020
Given this evening’s announcement by the Prime Minister we will need to contact you regularly over the next few days. We do have your email address although we note we do not have your mobile number.
Can you supply this by return to this email address:
This will enable us to send you bulletins and updates and gives us the best chance of ensuring you receive them.
Please reply by tomorrow morning 11:00 a.m. latest.
Update 20th March 2020
We hope you and your families remain in good health and you are all coping with the current situation.
You will have heard on the news that London, in particular, is seeing the majority of Coronavirus cases. We understand from people in the city that the hospitals are already being stretched and the number of cases is set to rise. Generally, we see most people in our area being fairly relaxed but the situation in London confirms the Government approach of social distancing is the minimal response and that these restrictions are very likely to be enforced to some extent in the coming days and weeks.
Closer to home we must inform you that Burrows has probably had its first reported case of the virus. We are informed that one of our employees has been ill, tested positive and is now recovering and has returned home. We are awaiting confirmation of this from their GP.
In the meantime, all our people on site have been made aware and we are conducting a deep clean of the site in accordance with Government guidelines. The employee has not been present in the site for a number of days but all people are aware that they must inform us of any symptoms immediately.
Without doubt, as the virus and consequential Government actions take a tighter grip on the country, we will be faced with some very difficult decisions that will effect us all. The extent of this is completely unknown at the moment but we must plan to make sure we come out of this period with a business that can keep people in jobs to the best of our ability.
We hope that today’s announcement from the Chancellor will really help businesses and their employees and this will probably be one of the most important announcements so far.
The most immediate matter for me to get back to you on is for parents with children who will not be in school after today. We have now gathered information from all our department managers and understand that the degree of the problem is far less than we anticipated it might be. Many people can adjust their hours to accommodate this and only a few will be faced with some difficulties. In order to better assess the whole situation that we face we suggest that where childcare will be an issue that you discuss reduction of your days/hours with your manager and for two weeks make up your pay by using a few holiday days. This will give us time to assess the impact as well as understand today’s announcement by the Government.
In the meantime, keep pushing car deliveries out and driving for a strong finish to March and we will be in touch next week.
Update 19th March 2020
This is a very quick update to let you know we are holding meetings to discuss the many implications from the Coronavirus outbreak.
Firstly we hope you and your families are all ok and we want to assure you that we are pushing for the best result we can possibly get out of March to help us maximise the Manufacturer targets that we must still achieve.
Please also help us maintain the hygiene requirements we need to enforce as rigorously as we can.
We wanted to ensure that you can obtain access to any updates we publish regardless of where you are so we have created a webpage that we will update regularly with all these communications. The URL is below and is live now. Please take note and save this link
We are also acutely aware of the concern many people will now be facing following the government announcement of school closures. This is being considered today and we will update you shortly.
Update 17th March 2020
Briefing for Burrows Employees – 17th March 2020
As you will already be aware, the Government made a significant shift in stance yesterday and ultimately the disruption from the COVID-19 virus will have significant impact on all of us in the coming weeks and months.
We are writing to brief all our employees of the actions we are taking to try and ensure business continuity for as long as we possibly can as well as the hygiene measures we need to have in place throughout the business to help protect our people and customers as much as we can.
Hygiene Measures to Avoid COVID-19
The best way to prevent infection and protect yourself and your colleagues is to follow good hygiene practices.
Government Guidance on Self-Isolating as at 16/03/20
The current government advice is to self-isolate for 14 days if you or any member of your household have either of the following symptoms:
Please be advised that you may be required to go home should you exhibit these symptoms. We are also monitoring the advice given by the government with regard to those people who are considered most vulnerable.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
You are advised not to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
o you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
o your condition gets worse
o your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Self-isolation - Statutory sick pay will be paid from the first day.
Positive diagnosis – Statutory sick pay will be paid from the first day.
I’m sure you will all realise the potentially catastrophic consequences the current situation can have on our Company. The motor trade is fundamentally a people business in the supply and service industry which relies on customer contact to carry out its trade. This, in itself, precludes the ability for people to effectively work from home and should the impact on our business become severe we will adopt the same approach for every person in the Company and follow the government sick pay guidelines.
Naturally the situation for almost all businesses is worrying and we will endeavour to maintain a ‘business as usual’ approach whilst at the same time ramping up all our hygiene measures in order to take sensible precautions for all concerned.
Steps we are taking:
Finally, this unprecedented situation will change almost daily, and we will continue to be guided by government advice and update you accordingly.