photo Creative Commons Zero - CC0

photo Creative Commons Zero – CC0   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

I was working when lockdown was announced. We turned up the volume on the telly, put the subtitles on and everyone went quiet.

After the announcement one lad went on a break, had a good cry and came back with his Halloween make-up running everywhere. It is just the stress of it all – it has broken people down and they feel like they can’t do this anymore.

I missed out on furlough by two days last time. I had a cleaning job in a beauty spa, but because I was two days from my first pay cheque, I missed out.

Revenue and Customs refused to accept my employment contract as evidence. This time I am a few weeks into a four-week contract. I could be furloughed for a week and then laid off.

Fortunately, my manager told me that she will extend my contract so I can be on furlough. But people shouldn’t have to rely on that.

Many individual managers are trying to do the right thing. They have the weight of twenty-odd people, the weight of their staff’s livelihoods and their own on top of them.

Some of my colleagues have been considering setting up a temporary ride-share, informal taxi service. They can’t afford a 20% pay cut. No one should be in that position, forced to put themselves at risk, just to make ends meet.

Mental health is my main concern. If I spend another month inside and not working I’m concerned how I will be able to stay positive.

James, bar worker