One of our newest members has had a rough time in his recent employment. Since joining the union, however, he’s gained two jobs and has no regrets. Here’s why:
“I’ve had my fair share of terrible jobs, but glass collecting at a certain Norwich pub was definitely the worst. It wasn’t the fast-paced, break-free, laborious work that I struggled with, neither was it the drunk rugby-playing clientele who would often kindly inform me of the supposed link between my physique and sexuality whilst I would attempt to get past; it was in fact the management that made the work so difficult. I regularly received an earful for the most minute of mistakes, like using too much spray to wipe down a surface or showing an absence of ‘initiative’ by filling the dish washer instead of putting on half a load early (I’m as clueless as you are…); nasty, stressful and inefficient. I got my head down and bit my tongue, because I needed that money.
Having asked for the Easter weekend off with the compulsory two week warning, I was told missing bank holidays was unacceptable and I shouldn’t come back the following week; no reasoning would change this. A financial ball-ache conceded, I can’t say I was too fussed. I’d worked hard in unacceptable conditions, to be fired having followed the rules. I left the pub unfairly unemployed, but relieved – a rare combination.
The following evening, a friend informed me of a Norwich Bartenders and Hospitality Union meeting. Ravishing the opportunity to rant about the previous night’s sacking, I arrived to a small group of friendly faces in a more tasteful Norwich pub. Frankly, I expected the union to be merely symbolic, but when I heard about their ambitious aims, my attention was drawn. The union could represent me at my old workplace, whilst improving my bar skills and helping me find a new job. As the meeting progressed I warmed to my comrades in the union, feeling their passion for helping others in the industry.
I left the meeting feeling optimistic, with both a CV from me and a good word from other members going in the direction of a few potential employers. Five days later I had a trial shift at a great pub, with other temporary bar work in the pipeline, both of which have now transpired into employment.
As for my previous employer, we are currently seeking the advice of the IWW’s legal team and will be further pursuing the matter, regarding unfair dismissal and unacceptable working conditions.
Work doesn’t have to be a dreaded ordeal. You don’t have to put up and count yourself lucky to have a job. You are a valued team member in a tough industry and you should be treated as such. The Norwich Bartenders and Hospitality Union have made me feel that way and can help you too.”
Solidarity and workplace organisation can get you places – if you’re in a similar situation, or know someone who is, don’t hesitate to get in contact via our contact page, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.