Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1032/28799

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 March 2019

Interview with a shop worker: Rigid bosses demand 'flexible' work

Workers are human beings, not mannequins to do with as bosses please

Workers are human beings, not mannequins to do with as bosses please   (Click to enlarge)

The Socialist spoke with a shop worker and union member, Olivia, about her conditions at work.

Tell us a little about your role.

I work as a flexi-keyholder for a clothing retailer which has a good presence on the high street. This means that I get a base rate of pay - which is minimum wage - unless I'm the most 'senior' member of staff. In this instance, I get 50p an hour more, but not in all cases.

When are you not paid the extra?

If I'm the only other 'manager' in when a manager goes on lunch, I'm effectively the most senior member of staff. But I don't get paid the extra if I'm covering breaks, despite being expected to be an acting manager.

I don't receive any overtime rate - which the company clearly benefits from - as, on average, I do more than my contracted hours. I'm also consistently underpaid when doing opens and closes.

I'm paid from 8.45am. But it takes at least half an hour to do an open and I'm expected to open the shop for 9.00am.

Likewise, we close at 5.30pm and I'm paid up until 5.45pm to do a close. But on a good day I'm not out before 6pm.

If I have discrepancies to investigate it can take much longer with no extra pay. Moreover, if something goes wrong or any mistakes are made, I'm disciplined as a manager.

Are you trained to the same level as the rest of the management team?

As my role is only a flexi position I'm in a kind of limbo. I'm constantly told that I'm only a sales assistant by my manager when another manager is in, but I'm treated like a manager when I'm the most senior member of staff.

I'm often not privy to emails or instructions which are only accessible to management. This means I'm not fully equipped to fulfil the role expected of me but I'm quick to be disciplined when, inevitably, my lack of training means I'm not fully aware of what is expected of me when I'm an acting manager!

What are your hours like?

I'm on a 16-hour contract but my hours are far from stable. On an average week, I'll be expected to do 20 hours but sometimes it'll drop to 16 and often I get called in at short notice to cover shifts, doing up to 40 hours with little notice.

How regularly do rotas come out?

It all depends on my manager's mood! Sometimes I get rotas four weeks in advance, but usually a week's rota will only come out a couple of days before that week begins.

Besides which, even if rotas do come out in advance, I'm asked to do extra shifts so rotas are more like a guideline than fixed in stone.

How does this affect you?

I have a six-year-old son and this instability is a nightmare for making childcare arrangements. If I have to work more hours, I have to arrange childcare at short notice.

Also, despite explaining countless times that childcare finishes at 6pm, I am often put on closes as an acting manager, which means I have to get somebody to pick my child up as I'm never out on time.

The hardest part is having to pay for my childcare week by week, whereas I get paid monthly. This means that I'm regularly out of pocket as the pay I would receive for doing a 40-hour week doesn't arrive until the end of the month, but if I've mainly worked 20-hour weeks beforehand it's a real struggle to pay for childcare while still being able to afford to get by.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 6 March 2019:


What we think

No retreats: Corbyn must stand firm against Blairites


Workplace news

Stop post-16 education cuts

Interview with a shop worker

MPs boost their own pay

Workplace news in brief


News

Boot out failing Grayling and the other Tory wreckers

Solidarity with Chris Williamson

Trade union action to end low pay now!

A&E 4-hour waiting targets scrapped - Save our NHS!

Them & Us


International Women's Day 2019

A socialist programme to end women's oppression

International Women's Day 2019: End oppression with fight for socialism


Socialist history

Leon Trotsky's struggle against Stalinism


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Southampton: Fight council cuts

Cuts must stop - boot the Tories out

Wildfires hit Europe - build for 15 March student climate strikes

Swansea: Labour council tries to dodge no-cuts protest

Hull: support for anti-cuts policies at Corbyn solidarity rally

Hundreds of Tamils protest against death-threat brigadier


Opinion

Women workers' militancy during the 'great unrest'

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 6 March 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Retail:

triangleMorrisons pay offer - 10 an hour headline hides divisive pay offer

triangleRyan Aldred: Why I'm standing for Usdaw's EC

triangleLockdown 3.0 - fight to make our shops safe!

triangleHigh street jobs, safety and pay: We have to fight

triangleDon't let the festive season be one of misery for retail workers

Pay:

triangleBritish Gas strike continues

trianglePCS Broad Left Network conference: "A BLN-led union will fight and win for members"

triangleOn the NHS front line

triangleScrap fees, refund rents and pay a living grant

Childcare:

triangleEngels on the origins of women's oppression

triangleCardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in

triangleFight back to stop Tories scrapping protections for children in care

Socialist:

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party: Looking at history has shown me that everything is possible!

triangleJustice for Mohamud Hassan!

The Socialist:

triangleChristmas Crossword Competition

Union:

triangleObituary - Jeff Edwards

Usdaw:

triangleSainsbury's and Argos: Closures, cuts and soaring sales

Workers:

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier

Minimum wage:

triangleA day in the life of an agency worker

Zero-hour contracts:

triangleJob Support Scheme - too little, too late

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

20/1/21

Poverty

Books that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier

13/1/21

Review

Book Review: Humankind - Dispelling the myth that humans are too selfish for socialism

6/1/21

Technology

Technology and AI response: Capitalists only invest for profit

6/1/21

Women

Engels on the origins of women's oppression

6/1/21

Workers

Books that inspired me: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

16/12/20

Workers

Quiz 2020

9/12/20

Obituary

Obituary: Roger Priest

9/12/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

9/12/20

Review

TV review: Red, White and Blue

9/12/20

Engels

Engels and the answer to the housing question

25/11/20

Disability

CripTales: A painful reflection of a system that pits us against each other

25/11/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

25/11/20

Racism

Mangrove: When the black community made a stand against state racism

18/11/20

Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

18/11/20

Obituary

Obituary: Paul Chettle

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999