Παρασκευή, 4 Οκτωβρίου 2013

The chronicle of an activist working for an international company

Athens - Greece

 17/7/2013 - 1st day of training.

Everything looks so interesting. People from Italy, France, Spain, Palestine, Morocco, Netherlands and Germany are in Athens and they will all work together in the same building floor of a French international company subcontracted by a US company.
Motivational phrases are written on the walls and you get inspired even if you have spent many years studying subjects like Mathematics and Biodiversity Conservation ( or Biology, Criminology, Languages etc). You have to face the crisis and the current Greek reality so you make the decision of stop saving animals for a while because you have bills to pay in order to survive.

19/7/2013 - going out for dinner with the company's Human Resources

The HR department of this French company decides to invite all 81 people that they have just recruited.
60 of them accept the invitation and here we are, near the world-famous Acropolis; eating, drinking and socializing.
One of the guys from the HR explained to me that 'this bureau was created just last year in order to connect people from company, by bringing closer the Greeks with the workers from abroad,and of course, to show them the Greek culture, etc... through this kind of events".
EXCELLENT- I thought. I was amazed, thrilled and impressed.

If we add the fact that they provided a relocation package with flight tickets and 2 weeks at a hotel near the company's headquarters while they search for an apartment... it all sounds good and organized.


-Until the moment you dare to talk to someone in whom one of the HR's employee is interested in (Who are you? Why do you want to inform this guy where to go tomorrow? Where are you working exactly? And come again, why there?' - those kind of questions because you interrupted the 'hitting').
-Until the moment you realize that another employee from the HR has the audacity to touch you the moment he is making fun on the fact that you are vegetarian (when did he even get the right to come that close to you).
-Until the moment you see that all the people from the HR are drunk and all they want is to go to a bar and get even more drunk (and get laid of course with some of the foreign workers -"victims", to the altar of their Greek exotic origin- NOT) so they don't give a damn about the bus driver who is waiting in the middle of a busy central street in Athens. They don't even bother with  informing the poor bus driver that there will be a need of 1 and not 2 buses.
-Until the moment, YOU, a Greek worker, try to help the bus driver to communicate with all these foreign drunk people and explain to them that they have to hurry up and that smoking is not allowed, etc...




24/7/2013 - training continues on the floor where we will work, challenge starts.

Training in the main building is completed. Now we move to the floor in which we will be working. From now on, we will be trained in there, during working times. The trainers from the US company are still with us and everything goes nicely.
Everything EXCEPT the floor manager, someone who does not know what smiling is, she is colder than the cold that Arctic's researchers go through, she only DE-motivates you. In addition, you realize that your supervisor had exactly the same training as you and appears to be someone that doesn't know much about the job.


Last days of August - the madness begins.


We have to move desks for the first time.
The new ones are better only because we chose who we will be sitting next to.

A few days after, or even 1 day after, a new supervisor arrives.
Now that the 1st supervisor was getting to know the job, they decide to bring a new one.
Someone, with a weak handshake, a fake smile, and clearly not suited for the job.

At the same time, out of the blue, new rules are introduced:

1) You have no right to send e-mails to your team-leader (the one who trained us).
2) There is a dress code.
3) You cannot come near your supervisor, you raise your hand and he/she comes to you.
4) No papers on desk. No notes. No eating during work hours.
5) No nothing.

WTF?
Who do they think they are?
And who do they think we are that we are going to obey to this sh..?
Give me a break. First, learn how to do your job and then demand to stop sending e-mails to my team-leader.
First give me some respect and then demand my respect.
BUT ESPECIALLY: Don't forget that we are all people, and the fact that you are a supervisor doesn't give you any more power. It's just a title.

Don't act like the vice-president just because someone gave you the title of supervisor.

+ And then, when I told all these things to my supervisor, the floor manager called me in-private for a 'chat' and what she told me was something like: "Give the supervisors some time, we are all new here, we don't ask productivity from you so you can indeed lose some time by asking them to ask your team-leader by e-mail" blah, blah, blah. When I mentioned that 'since our team leader happens to be here, why don't you arrange an extra training session for the supervisors?' - the answer was "WE and NOT YOU, are going to decide whether they need to be trained and if they need, WE and NOT THE US COMPANY will do the training.
                                                                     ~~ No comments~~


(In general, the way these supervisors behave can only be linked to the behavior of the guys that took the role of cops in this movie...



                                         

   ...and if you have not seen this movie, you must.)

Somewhere around here I have to stop the calendar thing and start to just point out the facts:

1) They gave us papers to sign:
-We give the right to the company to open a bank account for us without our presence. Weird but OK. -They say that the codes will be send to our place when the bank came into the company to give us the cards.
Regarding the foreign people though, the codes were kept by the bank and some were sent to the hotel where they were staying before renting an apartment, from there they were re-sent to the company. You had and from there.... They DISAPPEARED! So... go and ask for a new code. And until then, wake up earlier, find someone with a car to drop you at the bank and ask for your money with your booklet and your ID card. And don't do the mistake of withdrawing with your Passport because the bank will not give you the money (?!#$%^&*).

Of course, when you ask for help from the HR dpt they say that they will help you, they say that the bank will come again for new employees etc etc but IN THE END when the bank came, they did not have any codes with them...

2) They claim that they are a GREEN company. You observe, though, that the lights are always on in the toilets. In addition, nobody turns off their desktop screen during break-time.
You go to the HR dpt, you propose to write on a piece of paper a reminder so that the workers become aware of these 2 simple 'I-CARE-FOR-THE-PLANET' tips. They don't pay attention to what you say and when they do, they send you to your floor manager.
You go to your floor manager and the answer is: "I don't think that if I send an e-mail reminding this, people will do something. Also, they should all think like this so if they don't, who am I to change their behavior? But OK, I will do so, don't worry."
THE E-MAIL NEVER CAME.
The only who sent it was our supervisor who of course didn't even mention who reminded this to her, as if she was born with Eco-friendly feelings.

p.s:.  When I went to the HR bureau, after this 'conversation' (I don't give a damn about what you say about nature etc) i stayed there to help someone. When they realized that I was helping someone else they said to me 'We speak English too, we don't need you, we can communicate, go out', raising their voice, of course not politely. WHO ARE THEY TO TREAT US LIKE THIS? DID THEY EVEN KNOW WHY I WAS HELPING THIS PERSON? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM?
(obviously the reasons are personal for this behavior but this is NOT MY PROBLEM)

3) Regarding the health insurance. NO ONE told us that we have an EXTRA one in a private hospital in which we have a yearly check-up for free, we can visit doctors after arranging an appointment, for free or paying 5-10 euros if we go to the emergency. + 50% discounts if we have to stay at the hospital.
SHOULD WE "SMELL OUR NAILS" as we say here in Greece?
Of course, this is happening because they don't want us to use these 'privileges'.
What a shame that I only heard about this, after I quit/they fired me.

4) Regarding the IKA bureaucracy. No one informed me that if I bring a paper from a doctor explaining why I didn't go and I indeed don't go to work, I will be paid ONLY half of the daily salary. ONLY if you are absent for more than 4 days you get paid the whole salary. They told me this, at the accountant's office after I got my 1st full salary.

After all these facts... of course the head of the HR asked to see me and the opportunity was to ask to excuse myself for being late one time. I had asked someone to log me in on time (the company searched a lot in order to find weakness on my behalf so they can point the finger), a fact that was treated like a felony....!

And of course when I said that I wanted to quit but the only reason I had to stay 11 more days was because I needed the IKA stamps in order to have a public booklet for public health insurance, they fired me, after all my complaints about the awful HR dpt and the way they treated me and the foreign people.



At least they fired me 11 days after I signed the papers.

I should not forget to mention the fact that they (from the HR) organize with Greek apartment's landlords to rent them to foreign people/workers without contracts and on high prices by taking advantage of their lack of knowledge of what is going on here.

I know I am lucky to have some money from renting an apartment that our mother's left to us when she died so I have the privilege of searching for another job by surviving with this money.
I feel sorry for the ones that still work there because of their needs and because of the f...g Greek crisis.
I feel sorry also for the fact that the workers avoid to raise their voice and demand for their human rights to be respected.

I am a black sheep, between the white ones.
I know.

But i will never accept anyone to step on my dignity or take advantage of my needs to earn some money by working somewhere else than where I should, because of the crisis.

(I could write more and more and more but.... I have no more time or energy to invest on this chapter of my life. I keep only the good things from this experience, and leave behind all that shit.)


                                                          CaRpE DiEm people.
                                                                                                                                                                                               

5 σχόλια:

  1. Ξεκάθαρα, λοιπόν, πρόκειται για μια πολυεθνική εταιρία που αδιαφορεί για τους εργαζόμενους (στην περίπτωση αυτή αναφερόμαστε σε προλετάριους), χωρίς να ενδιαφέρεται για το άτομο ή το κοινωνικό σύνολο αλλά μόνο για το κέρδος. Πολύ καλά έκανες και ''κατήγγειλες'' τα γεγονότα αλλά στην Ελλάδα του σήμερα, που ο κοσμάκης σκοτώνει για 1 ευρώ, big deal! Δεν θέλεις; Μην πας. Θα πάρουν άλλον. Αυτή είναι η λογική του νεοφιλελευθερισμού και έχει περάσει με τα νέα δεδομένα στο πετσί μας.
    Παρόλα αυτά, προσπάθησες να μιλήσεις και να περάσεις και την οικολογία σε μια μεγαλοεταιρία (κλασική Ελίζα). Άδικος κόπος!

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  2. Ποτε δεν ειναι αδικος κοπος να παλευεις για τα ιδανικα σου! :)

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  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew_tdY0V4Zo

    what i received as a comment-feedback !

    :)

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  4. Agree with most of what you write but 1- where I been through all of this I mean I don't ask U to put me extra eyes but many things from what you been face i just learned . 2 - idea of been used by your boss or the people up of you some times is nothing comparing of Being hungry 3 - my old grand mother use to say if you let your money in place where all people can see that teach more people to be the thieves. I mean from this that the idea in Greece and about Greece is idea of lazy and not caring about any thing .. IST truth? In my opinion I never put general idea about any thing but need stop and thinking 4- for this company exactly and thousands more around the world is the same idea the most cheapest way to win the most amounts possible of money so welcome to the real world :) . Hope you the best really in your life just to let you know today the manger and her kids gave us notebooks to write our notes .
    Mahmoud .

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  5. 1)I did not understand exactly your point..i lost you somewhere..
    2) That's why i said that i feel lucky with the fact that i rented the apartment i grew up so i have the privilege to leave this kind of job.
    2)It's a FRENCH company i have to remind you..but with Greeks in there..
    My experience in french-greek co-operation is already very bad after my masters in Montpellier and Mytilene.
    Maybe it's the worst combination, what can i say?
    In general Greeks are not lazy, but they don't repsect, unfortunately.
    And this is sthing that makes me feel NOT proud of being Greek.
    4)I will never accept THIS 'real' world, the world of capitalism so i prefer to live with less money. Struggling by doing what i love and not doing what i don't love in order to just have more money than i need in the end.

    I know about the notepads and i did not get it...
    NOT ECO again...FAIL regarding WHEN they give them to you..NOW YOU KNOW EVERYTHING?

    μαλακιες!!!

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