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Saturday, 8 February 2014

An exciting summer

Since my last post things have settled down a bit more at work - thanks mainly to the fact that I am leaving. Yes, it is now official. My notice has been accepted (in writing), and my last day of work will be Tuesday 25th February. My last day of employment will be Friday 28th, but as I am owed three days holiday I thought I might as well take it as part of my notice. I could have just taken the money, but to be honest, even though I have just had a week off, I decided I would rather have time off again. No one wants to go straight from one job to the next one.

The Managers then are tearing out their hair, as they realise that there will very soon be just two Housekeepers left - and even that is doubtful as from what I gather the two that remain (brother and sister who share a house) have requested a Council house swap to move out of Surrey altogether. If that happens - and if it does it will relatively fast - maybe within six weeks, then they may find themselves in the position of having no Housekeepers at all. After the way they have treated us, this is nothing less in my opinion that what they deserve.

The carers are beginning to fight back as well. The proposed date for the start of the new shift times and rotas has been changed from the last week of March to the second week of April, due to problems with the consultation process. It seems though that more problems are brewing, as just 3 out of 50 of the staff who work in my particular home have signed to say that they agree to the changes! I think that this is absolutely brilliant. There was a letter from the Home Manager on the Reception desk the other morning asking staff to see her to make an appointment with HR to discuss any issues that they had, but to the best of my knowledge only a handful of staff have even bothered to do that. This shows the utter contempt with which the Management team at this home, and indeed the company in general, for what I have heard their other homes are no better, are held. Those chickens are well and truly coming home to roost.

Not surprisingly now that my time is coming to an end, I am feeling considerably happier and more upbeat about my future. I have to of course continue to do my job while I am still here, but the other Housekeepers with whom I work are not happy at all about the fact that I am going, for they know that this means more work and more stress for them. My Line Manager in typical two faced towing the company line stance wrote to me accepting my letter of resignation and wished me well in my new job. Ten days prior to that she was screaming at me in front of other staff members and saying that she would be glad to leave there and never see me again! She is walking around now all smiley and happy as if nothing had happened. I have not though forgotten her words and how I felt, and neither have I forgotten the other string of incidents that have taken place during my 13 months here, the first of which was just three days after I started.

This being my weekend off I plan to sit down and write that letter to the Regional Manager detailing all of it in excruciating detail and letting him know in no uncertain terms that things at that home need to change. If they do not, then I would not be a bit surprised to learn that 12-18 months from now it has been forced to close and the residents all moved to other homes. No one wants to see that, but it really is that bad. Every day I hear about more complaints from families and the results of the recent residents satisfaction survey were not good reading either.

I am not sure at this stage then whether it needs to be an official grievance (they have certainly done enough to warrant this), or more of a whistle blowing letter. I am in two minds to be honest, as on the one hand I need closure and on the other, I do not want the grief and the stress that may come from making this official. I suspect though whether this may be the only way to make myself truly heard, as I have tried talking to them in the past but to no avail. The trouble is they make everything seem to reasonable and you find yourself almost agreeing with them, but then afterwards you stop and think "what was all that about". I know though that no matter what I do and how I do deal with this, they will try and twist my words and try to make it look like my fault. This is what the Managers there do - abdicate responsibility and blame others for their misdemeanours - anyone it seems except themselves. This is what creates such a toxic environment in the first place.

In the midst of all of this I have been making plans for a visit to Iceland in the summer. I am going on 12th June for 17 nights. The flight and my accommodation are now booked, so I have just a few domestic flights and some bus tickets to arrange. I am starting off of course in Reykjavik before flying up to Isafjordur in the northwest and then going to the deserted village of Hesteyri for 2 nights. I am really excited about this, as Hesteyri is located in one of the few remaining wilderness areas of Europe, where even in the short summer season, very few people visit.

After two nights I sail back to Isafjordur and then back to Reykjavik again, and then I fly (or bus) to Akureyi in the north before going to Myvatn in the northeast for five nights and then back to Reykjavik again for the end of the trip. There is plenty to see and explore around the Myvatn area - bird life, mud pools and waterfalls galore, not to mention of course the Askja caldera which I hope to visit too. It is then going to be an exciting summer.

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