IBM Greenock, Manpower / Worst employer EVER
Not only is the IBM-callcentre based in the worst part of Scotland, you are not going to build-up a "career" as they falsely try to make you believe. When I was working there I witnessed really unfair and even illegal action taken by the manpower-HRs. For instance, they fired a collegue of me even though he had already resigned and given notice in the respective notice period. They also have had "incidents" with paying the salaries for some people. They've had to fight to get what they rightly deserve. Simply put; they do anything to cut the costs. IBM is such an Infernal Bloody Monopoly that they have outsourced human resources for Manpower in the Greenock-location. This is only to save money. Real, proper IBM-contracts are significantly better than Manpower's. Manpower is the solution for IBM, not you. They only care about the costs, not the people. That's why I strongly don't recommend anyone especially from abroad to go work there. They say the grass is greener on the other side, I say yes, it is LITERALLY very green in Greenock. But the grass is poisoned by sweatdrops and tears of the poor mislead fake "IBMers".
It is also worth mentioning that when you leave the callcentre, YOU WON'T GET A REFERENCE FROM IBM, ONLY MANPOWER. And it's only a completed template sized A4 (filling only half of it) they only change the names in. The HR's don't really have any idea how you're doing your work, neither are they interested. They never come commend you, only to complain or convince you to start doing more work. They market extra unrewarding work as "career opportunities".
This happened to my collegue once, she called in to work and told that her relative has died. The first reaction from Manpower sickline: okay how old was he? - Okay, goodbye! This is unbelievable. You would think she would have been sorry for her loss, but instead she was being rude and inconsiderate. Anytime you had to call in sick, you always had to go to an interrogation and you almost start feeling guilty because being sick. This is just wrong, no wonder how IBM, one of the worlds largest companies, has managed to make profit even during the recession.
The most noticeable thing in the callcentre is that most of the employees are young and from different parts of Europe, easy to mislead since they don't know about Scotland and can therefore be exploited. First of all when you arrive to Scotland, they'll recommend you to take Silver account from Lloyds TSB, why is this? That's because that account has overdraft, and while you get to the point you'll have to use it (Exceed your own savings, spending the banks money) you'll notice you are in debt. Debt in the other hand is basically slavery and a clever way for Manpower to make people stay longer. It may even get worse by time, I was suddenly contacted by Lloyds TSB and they asked me to come to their office. Okay, I thought maybe something was wrong so I decided to go. I went there and was surprised they wanted me to take a credit card. They were really trying to convince me take it. Well in the end I did. A mistake I must say. Without the help of my relatives in my homecountry, I would still be in Scotland. Working in a bad job with minimum wage.
Here's a summary of my monthly living costs.
I got 960 pounds (after taxes and National Insurance) in a month
-rent: 325 pounds
-Council tax: 70 pounds
-Zonecard (which allows you to travel to work): 56 pounds
-Phonebill: 23 pounds
-Gas, used for heating and kitchen appliances: about 30 pounds
-Electricity: 15 pounds
Then you have to also buy food and other daily products. You're not exactly making money, just surviving.
However, please note that these costs are valid if you're living by yourself in a onebedroom-flat. Its cheaper to share with other people and that's what many did. I used to share in the beginning, but I had very bad experiences with my roommate. This is a risk when you move to a foreign country knowing nobody there. Manpower could've introduced me with the people from my home country, who could've answered to my questions and given worthy advice. But no, they keep you isolated for the first weeks, brainwashing you to believe you can actually "make it" in the big blue and telling you safety instructions (Like if you could hurt yourself in an office-job) Truth is, it's just a callcentre, a very bad one. Different recruitment firms still manage to convince gullible youth all over the Europe to apply for the "career opportunity".
IBM's callcentre in Greenock managed to get to the papers recently because of the newly established swineflu-helplines. The employees of this swineflu-team have no medical education, they didn't even have to go to a job interview. They only had 1-hour training for their job, and after that, they were put on the lines. To help people in need, some of those people which may be in a very very bad health. This just reflects how irresponsibly they take care of things in that callcentre. The management is rotten from the root to the peak. Insider info: An employee of that team joked that swineflu is a very good thing for the business, that it creates jobs and they should put someone with swineflu to the streets - to spread it around and make sure they can keep jobs. Makes you speechless doesn't it? A person in that team resigned because the people were incredibly unprofessional he just couldn't take it.
Swineflu-helpline on the news:
So how do they manage to keep people, so to speak, "on a leash" when so many things are just plain wrong? The answer is fear. As I mentioned before, there are many young people working there and they are afraid they'll lose their job if they decided to take a stand. And living and being on a foreign country, losing your job can be a very scary thing.
My encounters with my managers:
They tried to get me to do extra work with no extra pay, so I wasn't interested. Nevertheless they just kept trying and trying until my manager told me to come to her office. I went there and I made it very clear that I'm not interested. Well my very immature manager took it personally and said "okay, well I have to go to a meeting now" and rushed away. Seconds later I saw her outside having a smoke. After that whenever we met she gave me this very fake smile on the corridors and pretended everything was fine. Soon after that they decided to create some new ridiculous and outrageous rules which you have to follow. Otherwise they'll take disciplinary action. Here are my favorite picks of their "business rules"(copy-paste from the official email):
- Dress "business-like", no jeans, no trainers. Meaning you have to wear straight pants and a blouse (for men).
Like if it would matter how you dress like. The customers can't see you since it's a callcentre. The thing is that you'll have to buy these clothes naturally yourself, and its just another useless expenditure among so many others that even buying clothes may be expensive.
-Internet use is allowed only if required for business purposes or as a tool to provide assistance services for our Customers/Center.
Some people don't get that many calls or emails that they would keep busy all day. It is just ridiculous not allowing them to kill some time freely on the internet if there simply isn't any work! They expect you to stare your screen with glazed eyes just like a mindless zombie waiting for a call/email.
-No food /eating at the desk
Sounds sensitive? Well I don't think so, when we are chained on our desks and not allowed to leave it but only for a short while. There's usually an 2 hour period where you have to stay at your desk and this is when you are not allowed to have any snacks at your desk. Take to consideration; you've had to rush to work in the morning and maybe haven't had time to have breakfast. You arrive to work, and then you'll have to starve for two hours until you can go for a break and eat fast. You have to be fast because you have to be on schedule, otherwise your teamleader may complain.
On our next meeting I complained about these rules and the response to the internet-question was: well if you have nothing to do, you should come to us and we can give you some extra work (with of course, no extra pay). Then she just had to mention the job they tried to get me do in front of everybody. This was just very immature behavior from my manager once again. The managers always had issues getting people to fill in positions, so they try to make the people there to take extra work-load. They can be very convincing and they usually manage to make young people do stuff they wouldn't have to do.
I know several people who have been working in the callcentre for several years already. Sadly, they are still on the same position as the others and the new people. I must say they have better pay, but not significantly considering the time they've wasted there.
My last words: if you are young and free with no plans whatsoever, then yes you could try it out. But I feel obliged to inform you what you are going to encounter. I must say my time in Scotland was really great, and I met many lovely people. It was only the job that wasn't fulfilling.
Part of my resignation letter:
"If agents are happy with their work, they'll do their work well. It would only benefit everyone, I've noticed this isn't the case over here. In my opinion there should be major changes in leadership; treat people as people and they might actually stay for the full time they have in their contract. It's no wonder why people keep leaving here so soon, and it is very bad not only for Manpower but IBM, because all the resigned people share their story about working for these major corporations. Not good PR, I think.
I also find working here quite unrewarding. We are being offered "career opportunities" which basicly are just extra work with no extra pay. When saying the "career opportunity" will also benefit you in the future, it's just lies. Who would get far with for instance ITS/SC - crosstraining? This is just so incredibly misleading and wrong in my opinion. I don't think we are being treated in a humane way, we are just trying to be exploited all the time.
Talking about money. Not only is the pay bad, but we are being encouraged to innovate at work, to get ideas to make things even cheaper for IBM. I feel this is just so immoral and a major sign of exploitation. It seems like they really try to squeeze every single beneficial drop out of us. We are cheap, and we are encouraged to make things even more cheap for our employer. Not inspiring, I think.
I still remember when we had the employee-satisfaction survey. Many people complained about the current conditions and we were promised things would change for the better. Nothing ever happened. We were just told some gibberish just to avoid the bullet and not taking any actions.
Above all I cannot see any more opportunities to develop myself, which I would be able to do when I start my studies back home this autumn. Neither manpower nor IBM has lived up to my expectations of them.
The amount of reasons to leave exceed the amount of reasons to stay."