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This is a question Sacked

I've never been sacked (yet)... One company I worked for made everyone redundant on Valentine's Day. The boss handed out little envelopes. We all thought he'd bought us cards and were really touched.

...but I've never been sacked. What have you done that led to your dismissal? Are you still bitter, or was it a fair cop?

(, Thu 23 Feb 2006, 13:23)
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Grape picking
Basically me and a mate, who I shall call M, were both on our gap years (basicaly because we could, no other real reason). Anyway, the plan was to work and earn some money for uni, as we knew it wasn't going to be cheap, plus we didn't have any plans to travel anywhere. We both signed up with temp agencies and got a few 'assignments'as they called them.

Then I saw an ad in the paper asking for people to help pick grapes at a local vineyard (this is in South East England, where the climate is apparently suitable for this). So, phoned them up and they said yeah sure come along, it's crap pay and you're clothes will get ruined, and it'll take a few weeks to harvest the lot. No problem, I thought. They also said that you can work any hours you want, just clock in and out at the start and end etc and we'll send you a cheque when it's all finished. I then told M about this, and he wanted some of the grape picking action, plus it would give me someone to talk to during the day.

The first week went alright. We both worked hard, though admittedly M did daydream at times, so he wasn't always working as hard as the supervisors liked. I gave him a prod a few times, but it took one of the supervisors to have a quick word with him before he stopped daydreaming and did a bit more picking.

Now, each breaktime we walk the 5 mins back to my car, just for something to do. Also most days I was too rushed in the morning to pack any lunch, so some lunchtimes we would pop down to the local shop (about 5-10 mins drive down country lanes) and get some lunch, and get back in time for the end of the lunch break which was 30 mins. It was suggested to us by one of the regular workers at the vineyard, that we take out lunch out to the fields, and eat it there which would save us coming back. I explained that I had forgotten to bring any and thought nothing of it. A few days later he suggested the same thing, and I gave the same response. By now he seemed slightly pissed off.

Well, by the end of the second week we were told that it would all be done by that friday, and none of the grape pickers would be needed the following week. Great, thought I, as because I also worked at a well known supermarket at weekends, the work had tired me out and I wouldn't mind a lie in.

When it came to the last day (a friday) I could tell that there was very little left to harvest. Then, 2 or 3 hours before everyone was due to finish, one of the supervisors came over to me and M and said that she had received complaints from other workers about the quality of our work (meaning we weren't picking enough grapes) and that she thought we had been taking excessive breaks. We both denied this, and said that we always timed our breaks to the minute.

I wasn't prepared to argue with her, and I thought that there's no point in working for someone who doesn't trust you. So, we were asked to go and hand in our secateurs (which everyone was given) and leave the premises. Slightly shocked by our sacking, we left the fields and went to hand in the secateurs. Waiting for us was one of the manager/supervisors who proceeded to tell us that he didn't like the fact that we were walking around the site and would have sacked us weeks ago if he had a choice. Still in shock we just left.

So basically we were fired for eating lunch in the car. The thing that really got to me is that we would have happily not gone of to the car for lunch, if they had said there was ever a problem. Personally i'm pissed off that they handled it so badly and never told us that there was a problem, but c'est la vie and all that

No apologies for length, you saw how long it was before you started reading it so the wasted minutes are your own fault. I do realise that the story doesn't actually make that much sense, but it sounded better in my head

Also many thanks to b3ta.com for counselling services, just send the bill to my e-mail address. I feel a lot better now
(, Wed 1 Mar 2006, 13:10, Reply)

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