Sunday, 4 April 2010

Extreme Pub Management

Just a quick post before I go and tackle the cellar again on my day off.
I've been without an Deputy manager for about a month now because as a lot of you are aware my now former Deputy Manager, Tom 'The Cad' Cadden left The Rake to become a sales rep for Brewdog. It has left me 'holding the baby' for want of a better phrase. This is something I am happy to do whilst I wait for my next Deputy Manager to start, it is my bar after all. It has left me doing a lot of hours for a few weeks though, something that every pub and bar manager does everywhere. Now whilst I accept that this happens from time to time, this time it has been rather harder than usual, with 6 day weeks on the cards until the end of April the Easter hiatus was very, very gratefully pounced upon. It also got me thinking about the hundreds or thousands of people who do the same job as myself in the industry, getting exploited by the big pub cos of the UK.
I am in a very privileged position to get paid appropriately for my job which I very much enjoy but there are loads of people out there who are not.
This is something that happens a lot, the big company will train you up and leave you to it, even if you aren't being properly paid to do your job.
It's one of the ways that they save money on staff, they'll keep paying an assistant as an assistant even though they are doing the job of the manager. Take my new Deputy Manager for instance, according to the same pubco I left, he's good enough to do a six month holding relief but not good enough to get his own pub in one of their brands? What sort of sense does that make? None to me. I happen to think a bit differently and am handing him an opportunity to progress again. This happens in many companies and they'll bang on and on about how they have to keep their key staff but then shaft them. I'm all for doing long hours when you're learning something, it gives you a perspective that not many young people have nowadays, gives you a work ethic and a if you're the right person it will help you build your business, but doing it for months at a time is unnacceptable and these pubcos are getting away with murder.
Lets look at some of the Working Time Directives...What are they and how do they affect the worker and their break requirements/rest days?
A minimum daily consecutive rest period of 11 hours - Hohoho, If you're a pub manager this really doesn't apply.
A minimum rest break of 20 minutes when the working day exceeds six hours, fair enough and my staff get half an hour.
A minimum rest period of 24 hours in each seven day period (or 48 hours in 14 days) I can say I just about get this but come my day off I am left lying in bed almost unable to do anything constructive, God only knows how the missus-to-be is putting up with me at the moment.
A minimum of four weeks' paid annual leave - yep this is good but how many assistants and managers work through the year not using up all the leave they are entitled to? Lots I'll wager, I used to be one of them!
A maximum of eight hours' work in any 24 hours for night workers in stressful job - What exactly constitutes a stressful job? Nurses? Firefighters? Police? Teachers? Borough Market security guards?

I would also like to make another point at this juncture and it could be construed as a bit sinister.
My point is that you are given the option of signing out of the Working Time Directive by companies(not just pubco's either). But for pubco's it can work slightly differently, if you don't opt out you will almost certainly never get a pub of your own, they won't see you as being serious about the job, or they will see you as a problem manager who makes a fuss about the hours they do. Either way you're screwed.

Now I'm not trying to incite riot or a wave of strikes by disgruntled pub managers but it might be amusing to see what people did on a Friday night without the option of the pub open! I imagine THAT might incite a riot!
So what's my point? I guess I'm just saying I'm tired, I only have until the end of this month to cope with my tiredness then my new Deputy Manager starts and does most of the weekends until the middle of June when I get back from my honeymoon, swings and roundabouts I suppose, the fact that I've had a lie-in today(woke up at 8.30!) has helped a bit and I've been able to finish a post I started on Easter Monday.
I did also want to make the point about pubco's not treating their staff properly. Running a business IS about the bottom line but it's also about the people that work in that business for you, you the boss and you the punter. What's the solution then? Have area managers who have actually RUN pubs for a living, not some twit just out university who hasn't got a clue about life let alone work, that would be a start.
Make opting out of the Working Time Directive illegal? That would just cause loads of problems for the people who do freelance work.
Until then it will be a loophole that big companies will be happy to exploit and exploit they will.
So, just a quick post then! Have a great Sunday people!

(Pic..Glyn tackles the cellar again!)

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