HAVE you made up your mind as to whether mobile money-makers Vodafone deserve to have protesters demonstrating at their shops in north London – or not? The company insists it has paid its tax demands where required. Protesters say it rather came to an arrangement. Like TopShop, UKUncut, the protest group formed in a pub in Holloway and the brains behind flash mobs and sit-ins across the capital, have made Voda hot on their hitlist. They argue cuts in public spending could be avoided if big firms settled unresolved tax bills worth millions, billions owed to the government.
But what can a sit-in or a mob achieve? UKUncut reckon they have managed to shut 10 percent of Vodaphone’s shops on its biggest protest days so far. It claims the company has been “shaken”. The question is, however, whether this has translated into people tearing up their personal contracts with a company that prides itself on good reception across the country. I’d like to see the figures for that. Of course, if protesters really wanted to hit Vodafone in the wallet they could encourage big institutions that have contracts with the company to do just that: to tear up their deals.
Hmmmm… now which big institution in north London would be among those currently paying into a phone contract with Vodafone? You got it in one: The London Borough of Camden.
Contientious Labour backbench councillors, I’m told, are currently investigating whether they should be beating a drum on the issue, probing whether there is any substance to the complaints from UKUncut. After all, you can’t praise or for that matter join a demonstration against something with a money trail leading back to your own offices.
Vodafone have strenuosly denied any wrongdoing and says it has been unfairly targetted.