Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/827/19311
A day in the life of an agency worker
Insecurity and exploitation
An agency worker
I wake up at 5.30am, throw on the uniform I spent my last pay cheque buying, leave at 6am to arrive at the pick up at 6.30am. If I'm late I risk losing not just one shift, but all future ones.
When I get there I'm informed that I won't be getting the three hours travel pay I was promised for the six hours travelling. Staff hang around, sharing stories of missing pay and 19 hour shifts. We wait for the coach - fortunately only 20 minutes - far less than the hour and a half last time. We finally leave at 7.10am for the three hour journey.
We arrive and it's work on a bar, not the waiting shift I was told about. Still, I learn quickly and keep up till a 20 minute break after seven hours where we are treated to a hot meal. I lose the first five minutes finishing up and rush to the dinner queue. By the time I sit down I have five minutes to eat the food as fast as possible and get back to my workstation. Still, only a few hours left.
At 6.25pm I'm signed off as 6.15pm. I grab my stuff and go to the coach where we wait for all the staff to finish their shifts. Now I have access to my phone I spend the time applying for as many shifts as I can for tomorrow.
Finally at 8pm we set off for the three hour journey back.
Youth Fight for Jobs demands:
- Pay us enough to live on
- Give us proper contracts
- Decent tea and lunch breaks
- Stop the bosses' fire-at-will attitude
- Build democratic campaigning trade unions
- See www.youthfightforjobs.com
In The Socialist 1 October 2014:
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