Work is getting tiresome…
Today, my rota said I was due to start at 1100. That is when I turned up. As I wondered in to the office, one of the bosses gave me a ‘look’. Apparently, nearly everyone else had arrived at 0900, and that’s when I’d been expected.
I was sent off very swiftly to help out my partner, who was struggling to get through a massive list of rooms to clean. Along with a couple of people we met along the way, we managed to get through them all in good time.
I then discovered that, at 1400, I was to go help out the team in charge of a different accommodation block.
My normal team, while not very organised, are at least well equipped and fairly nice. We also have enough staff that we can normally get everything done without too much stress.
This other team has rude staff, insufficient equipment (including things like mop heads that haven’t been cleaned in months, and not enough cloths to allow us to use different ones for the toilets and kitchens, for example), and one of the managers is so stuck in to her projected timings that she’s forgotten that sometimes things take longer than planned. Most of us working for the first team would rather take a cut to our hours than work there.
This is a problem. Morale for that team is low, and I hear that they have a lot of people calling in sick. This means they have work they can’t get everything done, and so we get called in to help. Of cause, we don’t want to work for them either. However keen we often tend to be to get hours, we’re not that keen.
Today, after already getting mucked around about hours, I was not in a particularly helpful mood. Three of us were actually considering refusing to do the hours.
We are ‘casual staff’, all on a ‘zero-hours’ contract. This means that the University won’t guarantee to give us any hours. However, it also means that we don’t have to work any hours either. Obviously, if we want to get paid then we need to do some work, but if I’m not available (for example, if there’s an interesting event on) I won’t accept the shift. I try not to do this too often, as the people who are more willing to work tend to get more hours, but I do sometimes put my foot down.
Of cause, considering to refuse the shift didn’t make us that popular. We also realised that, as well as us getting in to trouble (though we wouldn’t technically be in breach of contract or anything less formal we’ve agreed to), we’d also potentially get one of our managers in a lot of trouble when nobody turned up to help out. We decided that this wasn’t really fair on her, and so went along to the shift anyway.
I still was playing stubborn, and didn’t even consider offering to work the extra hour they had hoped for. The fact that I would have to take a break because I had already worked five hours, meaning that I would only actually get an extra half hour of pay for my extra hour of work, and that I was annoyed about the arrangement, meant that I shot down my manager before she had a chance to ask me.
Tomorrow, one of my fellow casuals is hoping to have a meeting with one of the managers tomorrow. Some of the plan is to be constructive: suggestions on how things might be made easier for us, allowing us to get more work done better, and perhaps how to make things run a little smoother. Things like pointing out that some of us are willing to come in at an hours notice, if given a call, and problems like the rota issue that caught me out shouldn’t have happened.
Some of it is probably less so. Like letting her know that we aren’t willing to work for this other team under those conditions.
The thing is, some of the issues wouldn’t be that difficult to fix. The equipment needs some investment, which admittedly does mean spending money, but even just running some of the stuff through a washing machine would help, and perhaps better allocation of equipment. Hell, we could borrow some mops and cleaning buckets from our usual team, which would help.
And the management need reminding that they have humans working for them. People who work better when they have good moral, are given enough flexibility to get the job done properly, without having to cut corner after corner.
Of cause, I doubt anything will change. And we’ll probably get told that if we refuse to work the time, we’ll start to lose hours, or perhaps even our jobs. Of cause, this won’t really help anyone if things are as stressed as they claim. And, if it comes to it, they may find that it isn’t just this second team that starts getting a run of poor health.
Fortunately for me, it appears that I may be able to start working for my department at the Uni instead, meaning I can give up this job. Of cause, this will have to depend on what pay they can offer me, but provided it’s enough, I’ll have my notice in and leave without a backwards glance.
As I’m not desperately urgent to keep the job, I’m definitely more inclined to consider stirring things. The threat of loss of hours (which I imagine is largely an empty one, given the current workload) is a minor detail if I’m off soon, and as long as we’ve got enough people on our side, they can hardly cut all of our hours.
It could be an interesting day tomorrow. I have a feeling that the management may have a mutiny on their hands…