The Socialist 5 June 2013 |
Join the Socialist
| PDF | ebook
A day in the life of a Primark employee
Recently we were given the chance to fill out an employee survey to inform our bosses of our experiences in our time working at Primark.
One question was along the lines of: 'Do you feel proud of working for Primark?' No.
No, I don't feel proud of working somewhere that makes obscene profits and yet pays me less than I need to pay rent.
No, I don't feel proud to work at a place in which people younger than me get paid even less despite doing the same job.
No, I don't feel proud of working in a place that made me buy my own uniform, structures my contract to avoid paying me overtime pay, doesn't make me feel a part of a welcoming, happy environment despite telling me to be welcoming and happy to anyone who comes into the store.
Like so many others at Primark, I had intended for this to be merely a temporary position, a springboard to help propel me onto something more fulfilling, but the stress and anxiety that has built up since my first day has felt like a weight holding me back.
I know I shouldn't feel stressed about a job that means so little but no one wants to feel like the effort they put in is meaningless and I work hard at a thankless job.
The store is organised into various self-explanatory departments and yet if one person is away from one department, whether sick or on organised holiday, it is often the case that the rest of the workers in the department have to pick up the slack without cover to help.
Sometimes I have to essentially do the work of two people. It's bad enough being forced to do the work of one person in Primark.
I utilised the survey to vent some of my frustrations, assuming that none of my anger would be taken into account and no change would come from it.
The survey itself consisted of simple multiple choice questions but the comments section at the end allowed us a chance to express our issues. I probably wrote the most that I've written since my university dissertation!
I told them of my irritation that I requested more hours to help with my finances and yet they instead decided to hire more workers on temporary, part-time contracts.
I wrote about how it was ridiculous that a store that makes the profits it does can't give its employees a discount beyond the two weeks before Christmas.
Simply put, I don't think that those working in Primark get the respect or reward that they deserve.
I don't live in the hellish conditions of those who make the clothes I end up selling, but Primark does just as much to make my working experience a monstrous hell of my own.
Sick Of Your Boss?
YFJ has launched the Sick Of Your Boss initiative, taking up the growing problems of underemployment and poor working conditions that face young people who find jobs - often on low pay and temporary contracts.
A Sick Of Your Boss week of action from 8 July is targeting high-street tax dodgers Primark with action, stunts, and protests.
Primark is one of the worst employers in Britain, but its callous contempt for garment workers around the world has also been exposed.
We will be demonstrating to Primark staff, and all young people in and out of work, that they're not alone. The only way to improve their lot is to get organised together and fight for their rights.