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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 April 2013

Sick Of Your Boss: young people in work - your stories

Student midwife

I'm a first-year student midwife at a Birmingham NHS trust. I was well aware of the realities of the job before I started the course, from the grave responsibility of ensuring mother and baby are alive and well, to dealing with abusive families and social services matters, to coming home drenched in all manner of bodily fluids.

I'd be truly thankful if the nature of the job was all that I had to come to grips with, but the environment where I work, along with millions of other NHS workers, heavily reflects the cuts that the current government claims are both necessary and admissible.

The delivery suite is permanently understaffed. Even when there are 'enough' midwives on shift (where everybody who was put down to work that day turns up) the staffing is never adequate to provide the care that women need and deserve.

One-to-one care is essential during labour, not just for the safety of mother and baby, but also to provide the reassurance and encouragement women need to accomplish the mammoth feat of giving birth.

How can midwives provide such a necessary service if their efforts have to be shared between three, four, five labouring women at a time?

The wellbeing of the mothers and babies we care for isn't the only thing at stake. Midwives are burning themselves out, as their high workload often means they don't get a toilet break, let alone a chance to take the lunch break they are entitled to by law.

As a result, long-term sick leave is at an all-time high, and I have no doubt that the stress of dealing with an often dangerous workload on a day-to-day basis is contributing to these rising figures.

This contributes further to the unavailability of midwives, and ultimately inadequate staffing levels, in a vicious circle.

Warehouse worker

In the run-up to Christmas I had a three month contract (in theory renewable) at a warehouse. About 100 of us worked there, over two shifts.

There were two basic jobs - pushing a trolley around the building to get a list of orders to fill, or spending a whole shift packing the orders and sending them off.

This was done next to the loading bay and sometimes the bay doors were open so these workers were freezing cold.


The warehouse was on an industrial estate between two towns - there are very few jobs in rural areas.

I used to get a lift to work and back, there were about ten people I could get a lift from when I started.

People would get sacked in the course of a shift, so sometimes I found my return lift gone when it came to leaving. By the end of my time there it was down to a couple of people for a lift.

In the warehouse the lighting was dim but the employer said there was no legal minimum. Sometimes the toilets were cleaned while we were having a break so we could not use the loo.

We were paid 6.40 an hour for 37.5 hours a week. But staff who came in via an agency got less and the agency seemed to get a cut of their wages. Quite a lot of people had to have another job as well.

Are you Sick Of Your Boss? Enough is enough!

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In The Socialist 3 April 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis


PCS: Striking against Con-Dem attacks

Call for national strike narrowly defeated at NUT conference

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Cyprus: Working people must not pay for crisis of euro and capitalism

Socialist Party feature

Abolition of Agricultural Wages Board will result in increased rural poverty

Socialist Party workplace news

Defend Crown post offices

Teaching Assistants strike for agreed pay level

Workplace News in brief

Fighting the Bedroom Tax

Over 5,000 march in Glasgow against the Bedroom Tax

Anti-cuts Warrington councillor supports Bedroom Tax protest

Opposing the Bedroom Tax in Leeds

Fight to scrap the bedroom tax is underway in Swansea

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Sussex University: occupation over but campaign continues

Lakanal fire: Action needed to prevent a repeat tragedy

Workfare and the Labour Party: 'A less than stellar party'

TUSC Mary4Mayor campaign launched in Doncaster

Sick Of Your Boss: young people in work - your stories

Interview: Wirral Youth Theatre cuts

"Is green growth possible?" debated

Don't miss May Day greetings deadline!

First quarter fighting fund target smashed


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