Library Letters Part 6: Unfair practices

So this week John Campbell on Checkpoint has been doing a story on how low paid workers on a wage have not been paid for all the work they do. I felt compelled to write in to them about the culture in Libraries whereby the library closing time is the the same as the employees finishing time.  This makes it impossible to ever go home at the time one is paid till.  Eg: Till needs be done, customers who come at last minute are served, computers need to be shut down etc. They were interested in my story and the interview I had with Zac Flemming might be broadcast this evening.

I wanted to write this post about why I felt the need to bring this issue up. There are many pressing concerns that I have about many other issues. It has been a year since I left my job in the Library and have slowly been recovering from the devastating effect the restructure had on me. However, as it is now coming out with the hundreds of people from different work places bringing this issue to the media I felt it necessary to point out that it is happening for local government employees as well.  To me this is a huge issue of the lowest paid workers being taken for granted and the absolute arrogance of employers. People need their jobs and over time a culture has developed whereby people are too afraid to speak out for fear of recriminations – with good reason too! So the employers get away with bullying and control over their workers. People understand without it being overtly said – although it HAS also been overtly said – that if you don’t like it you can use the door.

Personally I’ve had a gutsful! That’s why I am speaking up. The libraries are full of people who love their jobs and need their jobs, so working a bit extra here and there is just part and parcel. Its the culture. Its what you do to keep your job. I have never in my life begrudged working extra here and there precisely because I have always loved my jobs and therefor put 200% into them. NOW.. thats OK if,  and only if, it is somehow acknowledged, recognized or something is given back in return. I’m sure there are those for whom this is the case. There ARE good and fair employers out there. My problem here is that the extra mile is being taken for granted.. it is expected and as I said if you don’t do it you are looked upon as being somehow “difficult” or “not a team player” or a “trouble maker”.

In conclusion I think the part that makes me the maddest is how scared perfectly intelligent sane rational hard working people are of speaking out about unfair practices. And further to this how management takes advantage of this culture. They who sit on their lovely salaries are far away from the coal face and the reality of low paid workers.  Keeps alive an atmosphere of secrecy and fear. A never ending cycle. This is exactly how abuse happens in relationships.

One thought on “Library Letters Part 6: Unfair practices

  1. Karen Mc says:

    Bravo! Good on you Leonie! I do realise that your decision to stand and speak out comes from having suffered through the restructuring though and I’m very sorry that happened to you – along with so very many others.

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