With 2 working days to until my final departure from this toxic job, word is beginning to get around the home. I have not of course told most of them about my grievance, as I am not sure who I can trust. This is perhaps the most damning thing about this current Management, they fact that they have created an environment that fosters division rather than caring and compassion, which should be the focus. This is something that I plan to read as part of my opening statement.
This is not of course the first time that I have had to issue a grievance - when I first did this five years ago, I was also the subject of a disciplinary from them, and this I suppose is what makes it difference this time around. That and the fact that I also have Union representation to back me up. It feels different, it feels this time around as I am much more in control. Yet in many ways this has been much more difficult to deal with, because I have been there the whole time having to deal with it, rather than being placed on garden leave, which strictly speaking I should have been. The company's harassment and bullying policy (for this is what it has been) states that in a case such as this, it is normally the perpetrator who is sent home, but in certain circumstances where there is a need to separate the perpetrator from the "victim" (How I dislike that word) , it is the "victim" who is sent home. That is why after I sent my grievance I became convinced that this would happen, as I knew they would not be without their Managers. My immediate Line Manager was however on annual leave this past week, and since she was the main perpetrator, I guess this is why this did not happen.
It has worked in my favour though to an extent, as it has given me the opportunity to speak a little more freely to those members of staff who are prepared to help. One has been with the company for 32 years and other for 6 - she has grievances of her own to deal with and so knows only too well what they are like. They will give me their written statements tomorrow. Coran is also preparing one, as she has seen the results perhaps more than anyone, and has had issues with at least one of the Managers herself, who accused us of walking around the home together in work time, when Coran was actually visiting a resident. Coran is very good at reading people's energy, as am I to a lesser extent, and she knew straight away that something was not right about this Manager, that she was carrying a lot of anger. Aren't we all - the difference is though in how and whether we deal with it.
This grievance is not then about wanting heads to roll, or even for things to change, although that would be nice. None of that matters, as I will not be there to see the results. No, this is about me, and about having a chance to say what I need to say, and to clear my own unresolved issues, of which there are many. Much clearing was done after that last grievance, but there is always more to do. It is though like I said to one of my colleagues, all I want is a job where I will be treated with respect and paid what I am worth. The signs are encouraging that I have found this in my very soon to be new place of work.
This past week though really has been a nightmare, and if I were not already going, I would have seriously considered walking out. Three others have resigned since I handed in my notice, which kind of sums of whole place up. I get the feeling that before these new rotas come in, many more will follow.
The state of the laundry during my last weekend in was truly appalling - red bags strewn everywhere with piles of washed linen that was waiting to be dried just screwed up and thrown in heaps, seemingly wherever there was a space for it. Once again, two of the washing machines and one tumble dryer were out of order, and rather than having them fixed straight away (my former boss for all his faults always did this, making sure the service contracts were up to date), we had to wait for over a week. In a place such as this, where laundry and infection control are so vitally important this is utterly ridiculous.
It has not been the only issue with infection control this week - I have lost count of the number of pads placed in incorrect bins - they are supposed to placed in the yellow bins for clinical waste, but half the time end up in just normal bins in residents rooms, and sometimes in the bathrooms. While I concede that it may be residents placing them in bedroom bins, the residents do not bathe themselves, so this is clearly the carers. It has been mentioned numerous times to the Management, but nothing ever changes. My colleague though got so fed up with it that when she found a clean pad in one of the communal toilets, she wrote on it "I am a pad, put me in the yellow bin" before pinning it up on the noticeboard!
I have also discovered that one former resident has scabies and one current resident whose room I clean every day, has shingles and dementia. I had not been told about any of these - it was left to the resident herself and her family to inform me. It is not the first time this has happened. One of the things I am complaining about is the fact that they did not inform me of this with another resident with whom I had a disagreement. It seems that nothing has been learnt.
I suspect this is a common problem in many homes, not giving housekeepers the same level of information as the carers, but it is not acceptable. The message that this contains is that the housekeeping staff are less important when this is clearly not the case. They are every bit as important as carers, arguably more so, for it is they who are responsible for infection control, for keeping the place clean and safe for everyone to live and work in.
I will get my chance though to say all of this on Friday 28th, my last day of employment, which is the date for my hearing. The time has been set for 1pm. This may though chance, as the Union Officer who is accompanying me has another appointment that day at 4pm, and asked whether it may be possible to hold my hearing a little earlier. The District Manager did not come back to me on Friday with an answer, so I shall send him an email in a minute, just in case he did not receive my voicemail. He is a busy man, so is more likely to respond to this.
I am sure I will see him at the home before then anyway. as he will have further investigations to carry out with the Manager who has been on holiday. They will have the shock of their lives when they realise that I have been carrying out investigations of my own, and have written statements from staff to back me up - not to mention a hefty diary.
I do not expect to have a decision straight away, for these things often do take time, but after that meeting, I hope I will finally be able to let this go and begin to move on. Coran and I (especially Coran I suspect) will breathe a huge sigh of relief.