Sunday, 1 May 2016

The one where I worked at BHS.

Several years ago I joined the Trainee Management scheme at BHS, we were known as 'Wannabes' which should have warned me off.

I was expecting to spend several months with the Regional Training Admin Manager, learning all the tasks and completing my log book.

My training lasted roughly 6 weeks and then I was back at my 'home store' to continue my training under the Admin Manager currently in post.

After a few weeks she left so it was all down to me.

I continue to self-teach, it was a case of hit the ground running, with wages to process, new starters to interview, deliveries to process and the cash office to run, along with the Customer Service desk.

I  worked a minimum of 40 hours a week, generally more, and was paid the princely sum of £12,500 before tax, just £6 per hour.

I became good at my job, even to the point that Store Managers and Admin Managers from around the Region were contacting me for advice, telling me that I had been recommended to them as a point of contact.

At the same time, everything became the responsibility of the Admin Manager trainee - restaurant needs a deep clean?  The Admin Manager needs to stay until it is complete.

New tills are being installed?  The Admin Manager needs to over see that.

Stock take?  Then the Admin Manager needs to be on site from 7am to 3am, then back at 8am to meet the auditor.

Overnight Christmas Shop installation?  Oh, every manager needs to stay for that as it attracts an additional payment.

For the first 4 years I was employed my wages did not increase, as I was still considered to be training.

Eventually my salary went up to a heady £14,000.

For most of the time I worked at BHS, we knew that Philip Green was trying, unsuccessfully, to sell it, the poor relative of the family.  We also knew that Tina, his wife, was named as the majority shareholder/owner of all the businesses as she was a resident of Monaco.

Failing to secure a buyer, the business was taken over by the Arcadia Group (owner - Tina Green) so that the losses could be shared.

Around this time, my part time assistant was off on long term sick.  As I was only allowed help when absolutely necessary, such as when counting cash, I had to do everything myself, as it was the run up to Christmas I was working no less than 60 hours per week, still only being paid for 40.

After Christmas it was announced that following the Arcadia take over, the stores would be restructured in line with the rest of the group and there would be redundancies

The few of us that received Redundancy Notices were, coincidentally, the ones that did not fit into the little group that the retained managers had made for themselves.

Once we had received our notices, we were expected to carry on as normal.  This did not happen.  we did our hours, we did our jobs as per the job descriptions, we did no extra.

Although we knew there were dodgy dealings going on, I had no idea how bad it was until the recent news of the company going into Administration.

I hadn't realised that several stores had been sold to another Green family business and then rented back at above the market rate.

I hadn't realised the high dividends that had been paid out to shareholders, who were mostly family.

In hindsight, which as we all know is perfect, making me redundant was the best thing that place ever did for me.

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