Feeling Aggrieved

And angry, shocked, and generally fucked off might also fit here.

Yep, you guessed it, my previous employer threw out my grievance claim, stuck together like some fucking clique and hung me out with the linen.

So I’m not a happy bunny. In order to purge my soul of this nonsense, I’m going to lay everything out and if I’m wrong perhaps the world can tell me so.

If not, and everyone is on my side, I’ll name drop this shameless pub company and we can all piss on them all over the internet

So, a background. Now bear in mind that this is how I presented it to my wonderful, fair grievance hearing a week ago. Its the way I’ve told it to various people, both in and outside of the industry, who all agree I’ve been treated like utter shit. Hardly surprising, you are just a number to these fuckwits. And if you make waves, they’ll just replace you with another number.

Don’t go the extra miles for these bell-ends. Don’t break your back. Hell, if you died they’d be more concerned about covering your big football shift on Wednesday night. Champions league is back and priorities must be made.

As proof of that, a current General Manager of a pub in my area, on the same patch of pubs being run by the Regional Manager who’s just treated me like rotten horse shit, has gotten away with bullying, age discrimination and in a drunken rage almost physically assaulted a member of his bar team who had been frustrating him for years to time off she kept taking as the poor girl developed MS. Yep. A degenerative disease, that strikes at random in the early stages. This guy had just secured a promotion to a new pub, thought he was untouchable, got pissed, and was verbally abusive, aggressive and had to be restrained before it got physical. It went to grievance, he went to grievance, he got off with it and kept his new pub.

What a wonderful company, eh?

So, back to poor old me. This is my story. It’s a sad tale, get tissues. I’ve only ever worked in pubs. I started as a part time job in college and uni, regretted my educational choices when I realised jobs with a Journalism degree in my part of the world are few and far between, and kind of got stuck in full time pub work. Twenty years pass and that where I am.

I’ve been a Deputy Manager for about five years, I was at team leader level for at least five before that. And, if I say so myself, I’m damned good at that job. Not going to lie, if I was a GM, I’d want me as DM. We’d be a great team. I’ve been on the training programmes for management, I’ve passed them with distinction, its been about opportunity to progress now.

So in February of this year I transferred to become DM at a new site with the real pull of working with a GM that I have worked for previously and have a genuine affection for. I was excited, a little bit of wee came out, all that good stuff.

Then comes the first instance of personal disrespect from my Area Manager. He questions the move, questions whether I am capable of working in a student pub.

But lets deal with that nonsense idea on its own. For an Area Manager to bracket a pub so rigidly is just dumb in my book. Pubs do three basic things – sell beer, sell food, have people. How that configuration changes defines the brand identity of the site. But it should never be completely exclusive, otherwise you risk missing out on alternative trade. Which is stupid in any business model. And then you have long term pub veterans like me. I am a fully accredited cellar manager, I am intelligent, polite and courteous, and I always like to be the hardest worker on staff. And I am also so experienced I feel i can fit in anywhere.

But apparently not to this fucking line manager of mine.

So I count that as indiscretion one. Anyone disagree yet?

Anyway. My lovely GM tells the AM to go fuck himself (well in my mind she did 🙂 ) I get the transfer, all is well. First day in the new job the boss drops the bombshell that shes heavily pregnant and I’ll be taking the pub over for a year while she’s on maternity leave. Bit of a shock, but no biggie. It’s my chance to test myself in a long-term manager role.

And this is where the company starts to play shady games.

So my AM is not the most personable individual, nor the easiest with communication. He’s admitted this himself, he’s a bit uneasy starting social situations. I’m understanding of that, I don’t find initiating social interactions easy myself, on account of the fact that I talk fairly quickly to get around a stutter and stammer I had as a child. Makes me a little self-conscious around new people, especially in pressure environments or situations that are unfamiliar or I’m not in control.

So the AM isnt a chatty man. But the fact that he didn’t interact with me at all regarding my impending Holding role was something I found odd. I would have expected it. I’m about to take over a 750k a year net taking business for what I think is a twelve-month period. I would have expected at least a post-it note from my line manager regarding expectations, offering support, you know…professional things like that. Nope. Zip. Nada.

And now the company are saying its my fault for not finding these things out, or for defining what a ‘maternity hold’ meant.

Now, say it with me folks…what the fucking fuck??

Is there anyone in the world, who would accept a job as maternity cover and have any other expectation than that the job would last until the mother on maternity returns to that job? Or am I being dense about that? Because this is the base of my argument. I was made the Holding Manager, I was of the understanding I would be in this role until my General Manager returned from her maternity leave, and then I would return to my Deputy Manager’s role. I did not expect to be replaced in that time (unless I royally fucked up, which I wouldn’t have been able to complain about) nor did I think that another employee could be put into that role to do my exact job. Right or wrong?

Now the issue here is that the company started stitching me from the beginning. My useless AM had no contact with me, I trusted my GM that all was in hand and ongoing, and felt little need to clarify. What was there for me to clarify? As far as I was concerned, I was taking over the pub. I expected my AM to want to meet with me about it, he didn’t seem bothered by that. At a business review he was talking about beer garden refurbs and kitchen recladding and Christmas and Freshers plans. To me, that makes me think I’m secure in the job now, yes? Obviously fucking not. He’s just a shady, deceptive liar.

But he delayed on the admin formalities. It wasn’t until he took annual leave that my contact was changed, my pay rise confirmed, and I was made Designated Premises Supervisor (senior licensee, essentially, the modern equivalent of having your name over the door). I wondered why this had taken so long, but it didn’t matter to me once it was done. As far as I was concerned, it was all iron-clad in writing now, I was safe.

Was I fuck.

For here comes disrespect number two. As I was now in charge for a year I suggested to my outgoing GM that I be put forward for the next progression course on the Management training scheme. It takes six months, a lot of the content I would expect to be doing naturally during my Hold, it made sense to us both. But, alas, no. The AM challenged it, questioned my desire to be a GM or my ability to complete the course. Dumb cunt, doesn’t know me at all.

So now I’m starting to see a pattern. AM didn’t want me to transfer, didn’t support my progression request. Either he doesn’t rate or trust me, or he has no confidence in my future employ. Alarm bells start ringing. But I’m in the job now, lets not jump to conclusions. I don’t like the way the guy works, but as long as he isn’t micro-managing me I can deal with it.

Then we get a tangent problem. The previous GM of my site – who had left the firm completely – returns to this country from what should have been at least a year abroad, to support a sick relative. He comes back to the company for work. I learn later he was offered my job. Nice. Anyway, another pub nearby has a GM just going on six month sabbatical, so they put the returning guy into that job.

Little do any of us know that the company are in the process of selling that business.

Twitters arise again that when this failing pub is sold, staff will need to be reassigned and that the manager will need a new job…and mine is again at risk. My AM tells me this on the day of the Champions League final, just as we are about to get hammered. Great motivation, eh? A few weeks go by, nothing happens. I hear my potential replacement is going to take redundancy and is looking forward to not working for the AM anymore, as none of us can stand him. I see that as good news. Then word comes that the company aren’t going to pay him full redundancy, that will go to the GM on sabbatical.

So my job from that point on is now his to take or leave.

I get a phonecall on July 19th from my AM. I’m in my car, on the way to work. It confirms all my fears. In a week I’m going to be replaced. Its not about me…blah blah…bullshit…he’s more experienced…yawn…then this gem – he’s done freshers week before. Okay, I get that. But he hadn’t when it was his first GM’s job…the incumbent GM hasn’t done Freshers either, and wont have when she’s back in charge next year! Am I wrong to see the only common denominator is me? On top of this, I’m told I will stay as DPS but not be in charge, the other guy could leave whenever he wants in a month, two, six…whatever, and that I’m being returned to my DM role and having my pay reduced. But I can always be made the Holding Manager again if the other guy leaves. But if someone else needs a job, am I expected to step aside again? How could I not be? And, in any case, at the end of the maternity, what happens to him? The GM returns, I’m DM, where does the other guy go?

When you break it down, I feel it is discrimination. Not rascism, or sexism, but favouritism. Which shouldn’t be allowed either. My face doesn’t fit, so someone else’s gets put in instead.

Ultimately, I feel so undermined and disrespected, that I resign. I go to grievance. Its held by another Area Manager, and the Human Resources Business Partner for the Area of the company I work in. Its an inside, stitch up job from the word go. Any chance of fairness or unbias is gone. So, I tell my story, I think I put my case across and hope for the best.

Then the results of the stitch up. According to the contract, I was HM until ‘further notice’ – which apparently means to them I can be replaced at any time. They insist I was only a Deputy Manager, even though they changed my job title to Holding Manager and increased my pay to reflect my ‘extra responsibilities’. Does that sound like a promotion to anyone else? Then they say the AM’s actions were justified, ignoring everything that I said about his behaviour towards me. Then they flag up that when asked what I think should happen to the other GM I suggested he should be asked to look further afield if there wasn’t a job in the Area and that I shouldn’t step aside for him. Now, this topic is above my pay grade, should have no bearing on the treatment I received, but if I was a DM in training to be a GM I would be expected to apply for pub jobs within a 50 mile radius of my base pub. In that case, why shouldn’t a GM, in the unique position of having his pub sold, be expected to do the same? Is that unreasonable to ask?

Long and short is, I’ve been fucked over as I expected to be. Twenty years service in the industry, including every second of this company’s existence, means absolutely zero to these arseholes. I’ve lodged an appeal. It will be thrown out. Just remember folks

You’re an expendable number to these people. Don’t let them count you down.

8 thoughts on “Feeling Aggrieved

  1. Hey man, this sucks big time, I feel for you. No loyalty any more in any industry, we’re the disposable workforce generation.

    But don’t go naming names yet tho, if you wanna take it further it might not look good. Play the long game, get some legal advice and hang in there! 👊🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with that guy, don’t name them. Perhaps pursue it through an external tribunal? I’ll heavily caveat my comment with the fact I don’t know you and I’m only reading your side of the facts, BUT… It does read like you’ve been passed over, sorry about that. Loyalty doesn’t exist for most people in jobs, sounds like you’ve given a long period of your life and won’t get recognised for that. If you pursue it perhaps you risk not being able to get another job in that industry? All sounds like a bit of a shit sandwich to have to munch on.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Have you thought about your next job move? Sounds like you need to be a little more ruthless with your progression. You’ve got a wealth of professional experience in the pub trade, find a job you can live with for a short time, do it and always keep your eyes on the next one. Perhaps move locations? You’ve said you’re from South Wales, have you considered moving? Or even get back into journalism some how?

    Liked by 2 people

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