Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

20 January 2021

Facebook   Twitter

Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

A day in the life of an agency worker

We need real work, with real contracts, and trade union representation

Warehouse, photo Trougnouf/CC, photo Troughouf/CC

Warehouse, photo Trougnouf/CC, photo Troughouf/CC   (Click to enlarge)

An agency worker

Following a six-month period on furlough, I took voluntary redundancy from the factory I'd worked at since leaving school. At 61, I felt I'd like to try something different, and the work in the factory was getting heavier and the twelve-hour night shifts harder.

My job search demonstrated immediately that 'unskilled' workers' are victims of parasitic agencies that work for employers. Work can almost only be found online. You may see an ad reading 'Royal Mail jobs'. But by clicking on the link you go directly to an agency. A dozen jobs may be on view, almost all minimum wage and none of them with Royal Mail.

I use Royal Mail as an example, but the ad could be for Tesco or Sainsbury's, or indeed any major employer. But on further investigation none of those companies are hiring. Just minimum wage, factory, warehouse work, and the like.

I eventually took one such job for a major British company, obviously working for an agency and on minimum wage. When I arrived, there were about 15 new workers, five for each of the three different shifts. All of the other workers were young people (under 30). All seemed intelligent and keen to work hard. The first thing we did was split into three groups. Our group of five watched a ten-minute video of manual handling, then signed about 20 booklets on various aspects, to say we understood the company's safety rules.

When I questioned why we were signing before our training, rather than at the end of it, the trainer replied: "That's how we always do it." We were told we would be treated exactly the same as workers who were employed by the company - except if we went home ill, we wouldn't get paid. I asked if we were on the same pay as company employees? No. There were other differences too, such as overtime.

One of the lads I spoke to had been working for Amazon, but had left because all the previous week he had received a phone call at 6pm telling him not to go to work the next day. One lad had been an engineer in the army, but found this was the only type of work he could get, although he did say he hoped to go back in the army.

These workers are in temporary, unstable work, with little hope of full-time work in the future.

We must fight to make these practices illegal. We need real work, with real contracts, and trade union representation. Dignity at work should be a right not a privilege. If capitalism can't provide that then we must fight for a society that can - socialism.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 20 January 2021:


News

Make the super-rich pay, not the poorest

Bosses profit out of 'starvation' food parcels

Teachers: On the front line, in their own words

Peace and Justice Project - no way forward for socialism

Millionaire tendency regains control of Scottish Labour

News in Brief


Covid-19

The Tory blame game: scapegoating the working class - 100% pay for all now

Covid: Bosses chase profit and put workers in danger

Vaccine confidence - a worker's response

Life in lockdown - being home from school when you're poor is hard


NHS

On the NHS front line


Black Lives Matter

Justice for Mohamud Hassan!

Police use Covid laws to intimidate BLM protesters

New Cross Gate fire 40 years ago


International News

USA in crisis - the need for a socialist alternative

Trump Twitter ban: only independent workers' voice can defeat right


Workplace

PCS Broad Left Network conference

Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick factory future secured following strike action

Morrisons - 10/hr headline hides divisive pay offer

A day in the life of an agency worker

British Gas strike continues


Students

Refund student rent and fees

Plymouth rent strike continues

Scrap fees, refund rents and pay a living grant


Campaigns

London's May elections: Tories and Labour's Khan both vying to slash public services

Socialist Party national women's meeting

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Christmas Crossword Competition


Readers' Opinion

Books that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier


Obituary

Obituary - Jeff Edwards


 

Home   |   The Socialist 20 January 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Trade union:

triangleAn appeal to trade union members to stand as anti-cuts candidates

triangleWorkers need a pay rise

triangleNSSN COP26 online workers' forum: Climate change - for a workers' transition

triangleNSSN trade union rally reflects working-class anger to fight back

triangleA pivotal moment for the trade union movement

Workers:

triangleNHS workers - vote yes for action to win a decent pay rise

triangleBulb bailed out, nationalise energy to solve price crisis

triangleNHS Critical

triangleHousing campaigners protest CEO champagners

Royal Mail:

triangleRoyal Mail workers stand against 'unachievable workloads'

triangleSupport Gary Clark for CWU executive

triangleCWU elections: Vote for a fighting, campaigning, socialist EC member

Minimum wage:

triangleFight for a 15-an-hour minimum wage and an end to youth rates

triangleTORY BUDGET CON

Jobs:

triangleRMT strikes against abolition of night tube train operators

Article dated 20 January 2021

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

MEMBER RESOURCES

Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales

Leaflets

Bulk book orders

New member submission

WHAT'S ON

triangle6 Dec Leeds TUSC: A 'People's Budget' is needed for Leeds

triangle6 Dec Birmingham Socialist Party: How can we fight to end violence against women and sexism?

triangle8 Dec Hackney TUSC: Hackney needs jobs, homes and services

More...


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party

Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1158 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files


Socialism 2021 rally, Saturday 20th November 2021: Our future at stake - What now for the struggle for socialism?

More videos ...

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version