The Conservative Conference, Manchester and the Workplace
You could be easily forgiven, to think that the 2015 Conservative Party conference in Manchester, was just a battleground between the left and the right of British politics.
The many protests, which coincided with the ruling Conservative Governments visit to the city, saw an array of demonstrations, political meetings and a whole host of other events, which since the electoral victory of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, has polarised the political framework here in the UK.
But what has been given little attention, is the growing disenfranchisement of people in the work place, where with people being under-represented by either the left and right of British politics, are now looking at the British work place, as being an unhealthy environment, with an absence of loyalty and questionable management skills.
On the third day after the Anti-Austerity protest on Sunday 1st October, which saw an estimated 60.000 people take to the streets of Manchester against the Governments cuts to services, workers at one Manchester store had been forced to close after an elderly woman collapsed on the premises from a heart attack.
Despite non of the staff being medically trained, they took it upon themselves to call an ambulance, they also made attempts to get the woman comfortable and remove other customers from the premises. By the time the emergency services arrived, the elderly woman was fighting for her life and despite all attempts by paramedics to resuscitate her, the elderly woman sadly passed on.
After a period of a couple of hours, where staff were showing clear signs of trauma and the woman’s body had been removed from the store, according to workers present at the time, a senior manager from the company “then breezed in, looked at her watch, informed the staff that people had congregated around the front door and instructed the shop be immediately re-opened”.
That story almost sounds like a chapter from a Charles Dickens novel set in Victorian England but on the second day after Manchester’s Anti-Austerity protest, a worker for a reputable clothing company in Manchester, felt no option but to resign from his post, after having spent months of having a senior supervisor constantly telling him of her personal dislike for him, while frequently swearing at him, when describing his alleged failings at his job.
Despite his working environment being within a city wide “customer complaints” call centre, at no point had his work ever been called into question by senior management but the consequences of this one supervisors actions, has now resulted in him seeking legal representation, with the view of taking the entire company to court, which will undoubtedly result in bad publicity for that particular business.
Shocking enough, is that it’s not even a unique experience for those “working” in paid environments, where also on the second after the Manchester protest, voluntary staff for an animal charity in Manchester, were also “told off” by the organisations head of fundraising because a complaint had been received and apparently: “no one had made a fuss over a couple, who had donated some tins of cat food”.
According to volunteers for this animal charity, they had received the donation of animal food, had thanked the couple for the donation and explained that as a charity it relies upon the goodwill of the public. Oddly enough, the head of the organisations fundraising department, who gave the telling off and holds the post in a paid capacity, has their office on the premises and hadn't made herself available to receive such a donation.
But who would want to work in a place like this? Clearly not that many people, as on the first day after the Anti-Austerity protests in Manchester, one young man resigned from his post working in Student accommodation, after the company had failed to provide any formal training, while insisting he improve his workplace skills within three months.
The skills he brought to his post, came directly from those learned through previous employment, college and even those self-taught. He worked for this particular company for seven months and had been expected to do a variety of roles, including on site maintenance and cleaning dirty apartments left by University students.
His job only became “under threat”, because he hadn't been trained on a new computer based admissions software, which had been introduced to “speed up” this years intake of students.