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14 redundancies at RMI

High profile executives are among the 14 redundancies at the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI).

Bodyshop division head Jeff Mack, legal services director Graham Coleshill and Frank Finch, director of standards, have all been shown the door, together with a number of administration and support staff, including the press office.

AM revealed last month that job losses were imminent as the RMI restructured in order to improve services to members and reduce costs. Legal services are now being outsourced, and responsibility for bodyshops has been added to Ray Holloway’s portfolio, which includes independent garages and motorcycle dealers.

In a briefing with AM last week, RMI chief executive Matthew Carrington and sales and marketing director Gary Elliott outlined their plan for the future. They revealed a new organizational structure, which includes the creation of a dedicated lobbying team, tasked with fighting for members’ interests across all the motor retail and repair sectors. It will report to Carrington.

“We will be a leaner, more flexible trade association where people work better together on a cross-disciplinary basis,” he says.

Members will pay an annual subscription plus a usage fee for additional RMI services.

Carrington insists the strategy, set after consultation with members, is not in reaction to the RMI’s current financial problems. Last year it lost £1.4m and membership fell 6%. It is also repaying a £5.6m pension deficit over the next decade.

The consultation showed members face many of the same issues no matter whether they are franchised dealers, independent retailers, bodyshops or garages. Such issues include taxation, legislation and delivering better services to consumers.

Four focus groups will shortly be established to look at standards and quality, Europe and Block Exemption 2010, tax and VAT, and skills shortages.

The restructure will also mean a re-branding of the RMI, to be known as the RMI Federation. Its website will be overhauled, while its magazines including RMEye, will be re-launched next year.

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