One of the bodyshops involved says: “The walkout is just the beginning. I would be very surprised if any of those that resigned will renew their RMI membership. I also believe that, in future, most work providers will want to distance themselves from mandatory membership programmes.”
An industry analyst adds: “BRIC (the Bodyshop Repair Industry Campaign) will become stronger as a result, and the RMI weaker as a representative of the industry.” The Bodyshop Consultative Group of advisers represents some 100 bodyshops out of the total RMI bodyshop membership of more than 3,000. The decision to quit was announced in an open letter to chief executive Matthew Carrington, signed by leading bodyshops including Howard Basford, Nationwide (which has 65 outlets), Deejay and Karl Vella. It reads: “We have become increasingly disillusioned at the actions of the RMI with regard to the body repair industry. We, the undersigned, no longer have any confidence in the ability of the RMI to articulate the issues within the industry or to represent repairer interests.”
In a written response to the move, the RMI said it regrets the decision but is pleased they have not resigned from the RMI altogether. It adds: “The RMI regrets that a small number of RMI members failed to give the RMI the opportunity to respond to their letter of resignation from the Bodyshop Consultative Group before they released it to the press.
“The RMI maintains the confidence of the overwhelming majority of its bodyshop membership.”