Anger at AA's 'exclusive deal' with garage chain

The AA has a direct financial incentive to take members' cars to a chain of garages, rather than repair them at the side of the road, internal documents show.

The 15-million-member motoring organisation receives £10 for each vehicle it takes to Nationwide Autocentre, and its patrol staff are awarded bonuses on the same basis.

An AA "communication update'' circulated among staff says the car repair company shall be "working in partnership" with the motoring organisation.

The document emphasises the importance of driving up income: "Every time the AA take work into NW [Nationwide Autocentre], they pay us £10 for every job. It is imperative that we direct as much work as possible in their direction."

While the AA insisted that roadside repairs were its "number one priority", staff representatives argued that the ethos was being undermined by the incentive.

Paul Maloney of the GMB general union said: "There is a direct incentive not to repair vehicles at the side of the road. There is an incentive scheme in operation that benefits our members every time they take a vehicle to one of these Autocentres."

He said the bonuses paid to employees were dwarfed by the amount of money the AA was making out of it. Mr Maloney says that around 2,250 vehicles per day were not mended on site; so the organisation stood to make up to £800,000 a year out of the arrangement.

Mr Maloney said that staff were under constant pressure to make the company money, but that it had fallen to third place among motoring organisations in terms of response times.

The venture-capitalist owners CVC Capital Partners and Permira had cut 3,400 jobs from the 10,000-strong workforce that provides services to motorists. He alleged that the private equity owners were "asset-stripping'' the organisation.

The company has declined to comment on reports that they were increasing the AA's debt to £1.85bn from the £1.3bn to pay themselves a £500m dividend.

Mr Maloney said that the AA once boasted that 90 per cent of the vehicles were repaired at the roadside, but employees were now allowed to take the proportion to below 80 per cent.

A spokeswoman for the AA said the GMB was attacking the organisation because employees had voted to get rid of the union in favour of the AA Democratic Union, a staff association.

However, she conceded that the organisation and its staff had a direct financial incentive to take broken-down vehicles to Nationwide Autocentre, but said that the patrol personnel were expected to mend eight out of 10 vehicles on site. The target was part of a range of criteria to determine performance and pay.

Repairing cars at the roadside was the "ultimate priority". She denied that there was an incentive for patrol staff not to repair vehicles on site. If it was possible to mend a car at the roadside, then the repairs would be carried out.

She said that depending on the AA member's cover, they would either be taken to a local garage or further afield. The Nationwide Autocentre garages were regularly checked to ensure that they met AA standards.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam