- January 24, 2011 at 6:38 am #6815
Before I begin, I’d just like to say that I’m sorry to say that my first forum post in ages is going to be a bit of a rant, however I would like as many objective opinions on this topic as possible and I am hoping some of you might be able to help. I have Googled and looked at some proper employment rights-related Forums, but I can’t seem to find one based in the UK – the ones I have seen are all about American and Australian employment laws and rights which probably differ greatly from those we have here. I don’t expect any of you to be employment law/employment rights experts at all, but any comments you have on my plight would be great appreciated. Here goes….
On 28 December, I started a part-time job in a bar nearby to where I live. The job was actually a long time in coming as I applied for it mid-December and it took the manageress til after Christmas to arrange an interview with me (this should have set alarm bells ringing right away but I will go into that in a minute). With it still being technically the festive period, I found that there was plenty of work for me to do, but that my new boss was sympathetic to my family situation (I have a young son) and didn’t ask me to do more hours than I could reasonably manage. It seemed perfect. At the interview, I was told that sometimes during busy periods I might only be given one shift a week. I was also told that the reason it took so long for the manageress to actually get it together and ask me in for an interview was that she had suffered major staffing issues which had left herself and the assistant manager working the majority of the ridiculously busy festive period shifts between them. I was then told that the “major staffing issues” were actually down to just one full-timer leaving and not having anyone around to cover his duties. This had apparently forced the manageress to rethink the rota system and she had eventually decided that only the managerial and supervisory staff would be full time and that there would be several part-timers who would only do maybe a couple of shifts a week, but who could be there in a heartbeat if they were needed to cover the odd extra shift. At this point, again, the alarm bells should have been deafening I suppose, but at the time it sounded fair to me. The other thing that was mentioned to me in the interview – and this is also very relevant to my story – was that I would be working a probationary period of one month. Again, this sounded fair and pretty standard so I thought nothing of it.
I went in for my first shift on the 28th, and I believe that went well. I got on OK with the assistant manager who was working the shift with me and the customers and for it being my first day, I found my way around the bar and till pretty well. After that, I worked another couple of shifts, one of these being NYE. No problem. I then got a call asking me to come in on New Year’s Day because one of the other staff had called in sick (hmm, wonder why that was?) and I did that too. I was getting double-time and it would look good for my probation after all.
So… what is my problem? Well, this last week, I have been given NO shifts at all – I was told this was because it would just be the 4 managerial and supervisory staff working. Fine, fair enough. However, I have been on the phone to work no less than 3 times since to find out what my shifts are for this week (the new week started yesterday) and each time I have been fobbed off with, “Oh the rota’s not been done yet – call back later”. I called yesterday evening (the rota MUST have been done or else how did the person who answered the phone know they were supposed to be working???) and was told the same thing again. I am now feeling very very paranoid and a lot of little things that I found slightly odd about the way the place was run but never took any notice of are starting to appear a little more sinister. For example, I mentioned earlier that I was on a month’s probation – this will be up very soon, like in the next week or so – but I have not worked one shift with the manageress, who does the hiring and firing. How can she possibly get an idea of whether I am suitable to work in her establishment if she’s not done a single shift with me? I understand that all of the managerial and supervisory staff have all worked together for years at varioius different pubs, so perhaps she trusts them implicitly and is just allowing them to report back to her about me and will base the decision to keep me on (or not) after my probationary period is up on that? I really don’t know, but if that’s the way it’s being done, I am not happy. I mean, they could be telling her anything!
And suddenly, before my probation is even up, I am getting no shifts and the rota apparently doesn’t exist. I appreciate that it’s a very quiet period right now – January always is – but being no shifts for an entire week, and then being fobbed off when I ask if I have any the following week – that is wrong and something tells me I am being taken for a serious ride. Why employ new faces just before New Year if they knew that the weeks following the festive period were going to be so quiet they couldn’t afford to pay anyone? Was I brought in to cover a busy period and anything else they might want me to do on pretense of a job that didn’t really exist?
Apologies for the extra long post, guys, but as I’m sure you’ll all understand, this has really, really been getting to me and any help you might offer would be very much appreciated. I’m actually at the point where I did try to go to sleep last night, but this far have managed no sleep at all because I just can’t stop going over and over this in my head. 🙁
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