I started working for May Gurney (more here) a few weeks ago now. My induction pack consisted of a glossy A4-sized all-colour pamphlet. I was given no face-to-face training and was obliged to coach my team’s colleagues myself.
The experience has not been a happy one. As my place of work is on the first floor of the building in question, it’s involved leaving several bags of rubbish throughout the week in what is supposed to be the most hygienic area of all: the kitchen. I’ve had to learn – by myself – to separate out a complex combination of not always intuitively dissimilar waste and work out how to distribute it between five different containers.
There used to be two – tops three – in my previous employment.
So how do my current working conditions really stack up then?
Beforehand, we had essentially two containers – and really no training required. Afterwards, we had five containers, a 12-page training booklet, an obligation to teach four other team members (ie my family) how to carry out the outsourced tasks in question – and really no training provided.
I remember, about thirty-five years ago, seeing a similar system at work in Austria. As a kid, I looked on it very positively and optimistically – and asked myself when we would have a similar opportunity here in Britain. In Austria, it was a community thing, designed to make the local council operate better; the local environment become cleaner; and in general support our hopes for a shared and more sustainable future.
So why do I now resist so strongly working for a corporation such as May Gurney?
Firstly, because I wasn’t consulted – the collaboration and hard work required from myself and my team (ie my family) were hijacked by my local council and imposed upon me and them.
Secondly, because May Gurney is looking primarily to make money for its shareholders: it’s a business, not a charitable or community-focussed institution.
Thirdly, because – at least according to the media reports – May Gurney isn’t able to run this outsourced process as a going concern. At least, not in Bristol or – in my case – Chester, it would seem. So as I am, in a kind of a way, now an outsourced employee of the company, how on earth am I going to feel positive about anything they’re doing?
Working-conditions like these all workers can do without. Especially with respect to unpaid and outsourced drudge-tasks such as these.
Talk about workfare.
What do we call this then? A job, role and series of procedures you can never get sacked from – however hard you try.