In a far country.

25 06 2012

The woman picked up the phone.
The lady on the other end had a strong accent, she wasn’t from around here,and wanted to speak to her husband.
“No I am sorry” replied the woman cautiously,”he is not home, can I take a message”? She felt sure that this was not good news after all it was early evening, way out of business hrs.
“Well yes” said the lady who introduced herself as Mijelka,he applied for a job and we are holding inductions tomorrow at ten o’clock. He must bring all his documents including his birth certificate and passport.”
The woman’s heart skipped a beat, could this be possible, he had only applied earlier that day.She quickly scribbled down the details as Mijelka rattled them off.
” It is a permanent full time job, four days on four days off.”
“who should he ask for?
“Oh I will be there”
She thanked the lady and hung up just as her husbands keys rattled in the door. She smiled at him as he walked into their still sunny living room a slightly puzzled look on her face, there had been something odd about the conversation on the phone but she wasn’t quite sure what it was.
“who was that?”
She explained about the interview did he want to go.
“of course I want to go, I will need some money for petrol though, it will be a sixty mile round trip, Why so far away, did she say”? The position he had applied for was about twelve miles away which was far enough when you had to find the fuel every day.
The next morning Martha got up a little bit earlier  than usual to make sure she had time to get his interview clothes ready and make a drink for them both.
“I am not sure about this job, four on four off sounds like twelve hour days that’s a very long shift” he pulled out the vacancy details from the previous day. Fruit packer, permanent, full time, hours 8am until 4pm and I am not sure how it will work out financially with the petrol”.
They gazed at each other across the kitchen, the words unsaid hung heavily between them, they both new that he would need to take almost anything he could get as their savings where drying up and living on one wage was going to be difficult.
“she definitely said four on four off! see how you get on today”
Picking up up her bag to leave for work Martha looked back with what she hoped was an encouraging smile, “ring me”?
All day she waited and the phone didn’t ring.
He arrived at the recruitment centre fifteen minutes early, it had in the end only taken him fifty minutes to drive there. Having checked in with the girl at the desk he took a seat, as instructed, in a side room with five others. Nervously he sat and waited as another Ten equally anxious men filed in, he didn’t recognise any of them but then he was far from his local area in a town he would not normally visit so that shouldn’t be any surprise.
Ten o’clock came and went, no Mijelka, he glanced discretely around the stark room as his fellow applicants fidgeted in their seats, feet shuffling. They all looked up expectantly as they heard the clip clopping of ladies heels approaching about ten minutes later.Could this be her, the woman who has summoned them all at such short notice, they had all received a call at about the same time last night.
Mijelka and another woman entered the room and introduced themselves as representing HRGO recruitment.
” does anyone speak English”?
Bloody cheek he thought, of course I speak English, it turned out that some didn’t and one had to have an interpreter.
” these are temporary positions that start tomorrow”
“where is the factory” he asked
Mijelka gave him the address and continued, all work documents where checked, wouldn’t want any illegals on the books would they, finger prints taken, and then onto the induction details.
“your shifts will be 8 a.m to 8 p.m, although you must be at your place of work by 7.30 a.m, if you are not there by 7.30 when you do arrive you will be sent home without pay and another will take your days work. You will not necessarily get four days off you may get one, you may get more, it depends…….”
“where is this factory? Can you give me directions?
He read through the page of job details that had just been handed him in answer to his enquirie, not quite understanding he read it again.
” where! The position I applied for was much nearer to my home and the vacancy I applied for was permanent at a higher rate of pay than this” He had been lured here on a wild goose chase.
“Oh no, this is not for that job, you must attend another induction tomorrow for that job”
He was feeling insulted now, these women where lording it over them like they had no dignity, no choice at all.
” excuse me, I have attended here today at the drop of a hat, and now you need me to do it all again on Saturday”
” Oh forget about your weekends now, they no longer exist” she replied with a smirk.
He left the office with instructions to report for duty the next morning if he wanted the weeks work and drove home feeling totally degraded, his wife would be so disappointed if he didn’t get a job.
And where does this happen?
Where do people looking to earn an honest living get treated and mislead like this?
Where do the vulnerable become the prey of sharpe practice?
England! In fact Sittingbourne, Kent. You might have believed at the start that this was taking place in some impoverished third world country, the kind of treatment dished out to Mexican illegals in the movies, but no, it is here in the UK.
The Man, my husband and all the other men where treated with total disrespect because they applied  for a job! This experience makes the humiliation of signing on for unemployment benefit seem like a picnic.
Anyone using HRGO as a recruitment company should maybe think again, it would appear that because they assume their applicants are foreign immigrants that they do not deserve to be treated with a little dignity. Well shame on you HRGO recruitment.




One response

26 06 2012
Kathryn McCullough

This is awful. My partner Sara applied for an NGO job last winter in London–a several month process, was the top candidate, but ultimately turned down, as she was an American–work permit stuff. It was a long, hard process for nothing. I know the situation you describe is not the same, but it reminds me, nonetheless. Guess work is hard to come by almost anywhere in the world these days.

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