Having spent the best part of the past twelve years in the 'serving' industry, I have observed that it is possibly the closest thing we have to slavery in the UK today. Whether you're in customer service behind the counter at Argos, you take someone their roomservice in a hotel, you pull someone's pint, or sit behind a desk at a reception, you will be, at times, horribly mistreated and underpaid. In all of the hospitality orientated jobs I have taken in the past, I have never earned more than a few pounds above minimum wage and been unpleasantly treated by my employers and customers. I'm not saying this is the case in all of these jobs, and I too have had some highly enjoyable experiences in some of these jobs, but considering the amount of work I had to do in some of my past jobs for the tiny amount of pay I received is insane.
How anyone manages to survive on a retail wage without the assistance of all sorts of benefits is beyond me. For example, I worked at Choices Video, which has now merged with Blockbuster, as an Assistant Manager in my early twenties. While I enjoyed the job, I worked in excess of 70 hour weeks at times, was responsible for a team of ten people, as well as sales, merchandising, stock taking, stock ordering, banking all the money and more. I worked between 8.30am and 10.30pm, bank holidays, easter, boxing day, new years day- never with any extra pay. And what did I do this for? Less than £13,000. Now here I work part time at a privately owned halls of residence for Kingston University and see people working 37 hours per week, having far less responsibility that I did and no additional qualifications and they're earning up to £40,000. Something is not right in the way wages are decided. I seriously don't see how the work or responsibility is reflected in the money up for grabs.