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.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


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:

triangleSupermarket giants merger: protect jobs and fight price hikes

triangleEnergy retail firm collapse hits Tyneside

triangleChanges threaten thousands of jobs

triangleWorkers count the cost of the retail crisis

triangleSave the high street: public ownership, not ghost malls

Pay:

trianglePCS union elections: Huge support for Chris Baugh

triangleMPs boost their own pay

Childcare:

triangleUniversal Credit could trap women in violent relationships

triangleWorking families 50 a week short of paying for kids

Usdaw:

triangleNSSN rally: militant trade unionists share ideas to win for workers

Minimum wage:

triangleTories out. Scrap Universal Credit. Fight for living wages and welfare!

Zero-hour contracts:

triangleThem & Us

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

13/3/19

Obituary

Obituary Joan Beale - Labour women's activist and Militant supporter

13/3/19

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

13/3/19

Anti-war

History: Alice Wheeldon - an anti-war socialist persecuted by the state

6/3/19

Retail

Interview with a shop worker

6/3/19

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

6/3/19

Women

Women workers' militancy during the 'great unrest'

6/3/19

Labour Party

Solidarity with Chris Williamson

27/2/19

NHS

Non-fiction: 'Unhealthy Profits: PFI in the NHS'

27/2/19

Art

Art exhibition: 'Unobtania' by Peter Robson

27/2/19

Letters

The Socialist inbox

20/2/19

Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

13/2/19

Letters

The Socialist inbox

13/2/19

NHS

'Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor': comedy and tragedy judiciously mixed

13/2/19

Film

'Green Book' film: a timely reminder of racism in the USA

6/2/19

Theatre

Theatre: Ballad of Johnny Longstaff

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: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999