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Staff protest over ‘forced hugs’ by boss of Ted Baker

‘Sexual
innuendos’:
Ray Kelvin
allegedly
asked
female staff
to sit on his
knee and
cuddle him
PICTURE: DAVE BENETT

TED BAKER staff have complained of their boss instigating a culture of ‘forced hugs’ that puts them at risk of harassment at work.

Employees at the fashion house accused owner and chief executive Ray Kelvin of inappropriate touching and comments.

It comes as a petition was launched urging the company to investigate their complaints against the 62-year-old.

But the company hit back by saying hugs are ‘part of Ted Baker’s culture although absolutely not insisted upon’.

Among the allegations are that Mr Kelvin asked ‘young female members of staff to sit on his knee, cuddle him, or let him massage their ears’.

The petition adds: ‘The owner regularly makes sexual innuendos at staff and took off his shirt on one occasion and talked about his sex life.

‘So many people have left the business due to harassment, whether that be verbal, physical or sexual.’ The petition, launched on campaign website Organise, calls for an independent external body to review the culture of the company.

In a statement yesterday, Ted Baker said: ‘While the claims made are entirely at odds with the values of our business and those of our CEO, we take them very seriously and will ensure that a thorough independent investigation is carried out.’

Mr Kelvin founded Ted Baker in 1988 and is worth £552million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Festive treats are a sight for mince pies…

Raisin standards: A Mr Kipling worker checks the pies on the production line in Barnsley PICTURE: PA

SURELY not even Santa could eat all these pies…

The pie production line at Mr Kipling’s factory in Barnsley, Yorkshire, can whip up 720 of the fruity treats every minute.

The brand — owned by Premier Foods — produces 4.5million packs of mince pies each year — the equivalent of 27million individual delicacies. It uses more than 780 tons of mincemeat.

Cuts in youth centre funding ‘put young people at risk’

YOUTH services are at ‘breaking point’ with £13million sliced from budgets across the UK, and almost 900 youth worker jobs axed since 2016, says a report.

A Freedom of Information request to local authorities, and research among youth workers, suggested that 760 youth centres have closed since 2012, according to the union Unison. It said three out of four youth workers did not feel secure in their job and almost as many were putting in extra hours.

General secretary Dave Prentis said ‘youth services help with employment, training, potential mental health issues, and they act to prevent alcohol and substance abuse, as well as crime and anti-social behaviour’. He added: ‘Funding for these services should not be cut at a time when they are needed more than ever.’

BUSINESS BITES

■ RBS is investigating claims an unqualified man has a lead role on its Amethyst review of investment products because he is a friend of a top staffer. Bank boss Ross McEwan was told about the situation in July.

■ BEER sales are up 4.4 per cent on the same quarter last year thanks to the World Cup and hot weather. But ‘clarity’ on post-Brexit EU relations is needed to reassure the industry, said the British Beer and Pub Association. This is ‘undoutbedly’ helped by England’s World Cup success and the hot summer weather, said the British Beer and Pub Association.

■ MANUFACTURERS face a ‘deteriorating’ outlook amid continued uncertainty over Brexit and weak global growth. A survey by industry body EEF of 320 firms found plans for investment and employment are down.

■ FOUR new coins will commemorate the 1,000-year history of the Tower of London. The Royal Mint collection will feature the Tower’s ravens, the crown jewels, the yeoman warders and the ceremony of the keys.

■ THE Big Issue is testing contactless technology with its magazine sellers. It has teamed up with iZettle to help those in London, Bath, Birmingham, Bristol and Nottingham join ‘a more financially inclusive society’.