Supermarkets have recruited thousands of extra staff to help through the pandemic. Many new staff members are working for different reasons, some come to help, some to make a living during this pandemic. Also, many students have now been taking up extra hours of their work to fill up the free time they have available.
However, it does come at a price. It makes it a lot more difficult for university students to be able to keep up with their assignments and be able to potentially get the marks they want. Also, the mistreatment of some employees during this period has come to a serious effect on their mental health.
The NHS workers get applauded for working their socks off for their brilliant work helping to treat and helping the patients that need it the most. Even though it is all deserved, the people who work in supermarkets are regarded as the most undervalued and poorly paid workers.
Marky Poser, who works at a Tesco Superstore and a third-year student at Goldsmiths University, had to juggle his final year in university with numerous essays and his dissertation to submit had spoken to JLDN about his situation:
“Thankfully, my manager was nice to make it finish my work and allow me to be more flexible in terms of allowing me to finish my work and start at a later time.”
He was then asked if he and the people in the supermarket sector are undervalued as key workers and he replied:
” Absolutely, as much as an amazing job the NHS has done throughout this period, we as workers in the supermarket are risking our lives as well and making sure we help people with products they require at home.”
Marky is one of many people who are now helping feed and provide the nation with essentials in their homes, luckily for him he has the privilege of having a manager
A lot of these employees in the supermarket are also manipulated by the management but having their hours reduced and leaving them stress over their wages, as Dr. Alex Woods had discovered.
Dr. Alex Wood, lecturer in sociology of work at the University of Birmingham had gone undercover in one supermarket in the UK and another in the US, to assess the treatment of employees in those stores. He had found out that the work schedule for a lot of these employees would constantly change.
This causes them to struggle to make ends meet and that the uncertainty of if or when the shift timetable. He also states ” This scheduling nightmare is faced by 16% of all UK workers and 37% of all US workers and is concentrated in the retail sector”.
Also, he uses the term ‘ Flexibly discipline’. Which he states is a way in which managers take advantage of the uncertainty of the hour’s staff will be working.
The level of which we rely on low paid workers like these has not been this high and the uncertainty of the number of shifts has caused to bring a certain level of fear of not being able to work the number of hours they’d work.