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Is theme park encouraging absenteeism?

A British theme park has been criticized by businesses for launching a promotional “ihatework.co.uk” Web site which they say will encourage people to skip work.
/ Source: Reuters

A British theme park has been criticized by businesses for launching a promotional “ihatework.co.uk” Web site which they say will encourage people to skip work.

The Federation of Small Businesses said on Wednesday it was unhappy that Alton Towers in central England, Britain’s biggest theme park, had used the web address to promote a mid-week discount offer, claiming it would spark absenteeism.

“Do you know a friend in need of a great day out -- away from work? Simply e-mail this URL www.ihatework.co.uk to them and they too can get out of the office and have a great day out at Alton Towers,” the Web site says.

The theme park, which attracts around 2.5 million visitors a year, said it had recently carried out a “light-hearted” survey which found one in three of its adult visitors had made up excuses to get time off.

“We were actually quite surprised by the number of skivers (work dodgers) we appear to have on park, and expect our “Ihatework.co.uk” website to be really popular as a result!” Mike Lorimer, the park’s marketing manager, said in a statement.

“It’s not up to us to reduce absenteeism, and if workers want to take advantage of the mid-week deals, why not?”

The FSB, which has more than 185,000 members, said the Web site promotion was “unethical and irresponsible” and added it would be contacting Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority.

“Absenteeism costs the U.K. economy some 10 billion pounds and I’m sure Alton Towers wouldn’t like it if their staff took time off unjustifiably to go to Chessington World of Adventures (a rival theme park),” an FSB spokesman said.