Working Conditions in Lidl
Lidl is considered the nastiest multinational employer (besides maybe Walmart) in the civilised world, and rightly so.
Unfortunately I wasn't aware of that until it was too late.
I had a well-paid job in a decent factory, but the night shift completely destroyed my health. So I signed a contract with Lidl after I was guaranteed that I wouldn't have to work nights.
As you can guess, that guarantee wasn't honoured, and I had to get up at 4am every night.
I had hoped that I could stick with it until I found decent employment - but in the end I put my health and dignity first and left.
(To be fair, I have to add that when I started we had a store manager who was both decent and competent - but I soon had to realise that neither of these qualities are common in Lidl.)
These are just some of the working conditions:
- Contracts are for 10 or 20 hours/week. However, employees may be able to work full time most weeks, provided
a) they never mention their rights
b) they are on call 24/7
c) it suits the company.
- Whoever shows awareness of their rights has their hours cut down. The same goes for employees who are not 'flexible' (=not available to come in at short notice any time or not answering their phones at 5am). And of course any career opportunities depend entirely on tractability and 'flexibility'.
- Labour laws are not applicable in Lidl. Especially the legally prescribed minimum daily rest period is regularly denied. This happened to me quite often, and when it became the norm, I quit.
Some of my Polish and Slovak colleagues have to work two shifts a day (5+ hours at night/morning, 2+ hours in the evening), five days a week, each week; which means that every week they are denied their daily minimum rest period for five consecutive days.
There even is an internal terminology for regular breaches of the law: for example, an evening shift followed by a night shift, denying the employee his legal entitlement of an eleven hour rest period, is called a back-to-back shift.
- Employees are constantly harassed. However fast they work, they are expected to increase their speed every day, and not a day goes by without the manager telling them they are too slow, usually with a more or less subtle hint at possible dismissal.
(On one occasion I was told I had to change a number of bulk pallets in an average of 15 minutes each; I managed to change them in an average of 9 minutes, and on the following day I was given 8 minutes for exactly the same task.)
- Employees only get paid for the hours they're scheduled for but have to stay until everything is finished. Since the amount of work can't possibly be done in the assigned timeframe the employee has to add a few hours of their own time without payment.
- If an employee gets called in for extra hours at short notice, these hours are conveniently 'forgotten' on the payroll.
- Fear is the main means of staff motivation. I have been told that disciplinary action had been taken against me on two occasions (for ludicrously silly reasons that wouldn't even have been addressed anywhere else); the disciplinary action didn't come after all, but it helps reminding the staff of how easily they can get rid of them. (The same has happened to a number of staff members in our store.)
- Cashiers are required, under pain of disciplinary action, to start work ten minutes before the beginning of their shift. This may not sound like a lot, but depending on the rota of the cashier, it could amount to up to two additional unpaid hours per week.
- Cashiers are supposed to scan an average of 35 items per minute; I never heard of anyone who managed to do this even once, and it is my belief that this is actually impossible. But the magic 35 is used at every given opportunity to remind even the best employee that their work is not satisfactory.
(And while they are busy trying to scan as many products as humanly possible 'Mystery Shoppers' are being paid to sneak other items past the checkout and get the cashier into trouble.)
- An employee who purchases a drink or a chocolate bar for the break has to get the receipt signed by both the cashier and the manager or will be accused of theft. (Naturally, the time one is looking for the manager is part of the break itself.)
- I haven't experienced or witnessed any locker, pocket or body searches in our store; however, we have been repeatedly informed that these could and would be carried out if the manager felt like it. And I do know these have taken place in other stores!
(Some employees leave their coats at home, even in winter, for fear of having something slipped into them as an excuse for their dismissal.)
- Lidl employees are not supposed to have a private life. They never know what time they will finish; the time given on the rota is simply an estimate (and usually a very bad one) and only indicates until which time they'll get paid. Employees are told not to make any plans or arrangements for the time after work.
The rota is usually out at the weekend for the following week, so employees don't know before Saturday or Sunday whether they'll be working on Monday. And of course the rota can be changed at any time. (I have heard of stores who have, at least theoretically, a monthly rota, but that seems to be the exception.)
Employees are also expected to be available when called in at short notice. They may be called in on their day off, on days on which they have worked already, during their holidays and even when they're on sick leave! And those who don't comply are told that they 'let the team down'.
(Talking about sick leave: sick employees, with or without certificate, can expect a visit from the store or district manager, and they usually don't bring Get Well Soon cards. And those who have been ill for too long can expect their notice in the post.)
- Sick days are not paid; the employee’s rota is simply changed, making his sick days his days off, and he will have to catch up with the lost hours after he returns to work.
- Warehouse, shop floor and checkout area are infested with security cameras. Yet they have nothing to do with security; their only purpose is to control the speed and efficiency of the staff.
- Attendance at staff meetings is compulsory, as anywhere else, but unpaid.
- The Lidl policy of terror, pressure, humiliation and total control applies on every level. Managers receive an annual salary for a 48 hour contract, but they, too, have to finish their work before they go home; thus a working week of over 140 hours (no typo!) is not an exception, though many managers have to blame their own incompetence (overordering, personnel mismanagement etc).
- There is no proper authority in Lidl to deal with disagreements between management and employees (Lidl will probably claim that there is no need since there are no disagreements). Something like a spokesman would be the first step towards workers' representation, and this is something Lidl would not allow under any circumstances!
Theoretically, disagreements and complaints could be brought to the attention of the district manager, but these are guaranteed to backfire! Lidl has a totalitarian structure, and however justified one's complaint is: questioning the store manager means questioning the hierarchy, and this doesn't go down well at all!
- Until recently female employees in Poland and the Czech Republic were given the privilege of being able to use the toilet during working hours when they had their period. But since they had to wear a headband in order to let the manager know it was that time of the month there was an understandable outcry; and now they have to wait for their break, just like anyone else.
Many Lidl employees, especially job starters and foreign nationals, tend to believe that the way their employer treats them is the norm, or even legal. It is not!
You may ask yourself how Lidl are able to hold on to their staff under these conditions. The answer is simple: they don't! Most employees leave after a few weeks, either because they found decent employment, decided not to give up their dignity for a few extra Euros or are sacked under some pretext because they lack tractability or quickness.
Since the tasks performed by the majority of the staff don't require a lot of training they are easily replaced - preferably with foreign nationals since they tend either to be unaware of or fuss less about rights and minimum requirements.
When you visit your local Lidl you will see new faces on a regular basis. And if you look into the eyes of those poor souls who have to stay there for more than a few months you will find them reddened from sleep deprivation, and dead from dehumanisation.
Having been a Lidl employee it was almost impossible to afford one's shopping anywhere else but in Lidl. But a few weeks before I quit I decided never to spend another penny in there - why sustain the dark power that had turned me into a zombie?
I have gathered experiences with many despicable employers and suffered a lot of humiliation at several workplaces; but the most traumatic of them all will always be my time in Lidl!
I don't blame anyone who shops in Lidl because he has no other choice. But every time you pass the checkout think of the money you have saved by shopping in Lidl, and remember that all these savings come out of their employees' pockets.
(Of course one may wonder whether a multinational company could get away with these practices without the co-operation of the authorities. In February 2007 I have contacted the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and suggested to send inspectors. In reply I was told that the Department had no authority to send inspectors into Lidl unless I filled out an official Labour Inspectorate Complaint form - however, they are very reluctant to send out this form, and it took several emails and reminders to finally receive the form after more than three months. To view my communication with the Department, click here.
August 2017: It is now over ten years that the Department have received my complaint form by registered letter, and still no inspection has been carried out in Lidl.)
In 2007, the Guardian published an article about the working conditions in Lidl at http://www.guardian.co.uk/supermarkets/story/0,,2033346,00.html. Due to a misunderstanding, though, I wasn't quoted correctly - my evening shifts didn't last for 12 hours; however, they ended as late as 11pm or midnight (or, in case of an inventory, even a few hours later) and were followed by night shifts that commenced at 5am (not 6am).
I don't know where to begin.
Perhaps I could talk endlessly about the way managers talk to you as if you're worthless and not worthy of their employment? This was what annoyed me most of all....the patronising tone of managers talking to you....."well if you want to be successful here you need to be something special". In a similar way senior managers and auditors will often take photographs of the store when they visit. I was actually pulled into the office one day and questionned with a pile of these photos on the table. The ops manager and director were either side of me and went through a number of these photos. It felt like I was a criminal being interrogated for murder by detectives. One photo showed how we sold out of a product line. Another showed how there was too much of a product on display, and that it was not productive. I just thought what do you want....you complain to me when there's no stock out, you complain when there's too much. At one point the ops manager said to me....Do you think you're a leader? "Yes" No you're not he said back to me....So I just thought why the hell do you ask me the question in the first place, if you're just gonna deny my answer? Then at the end of this session they both said....do you want to make any comments to us?....Yeah right like you would even listen to me!!
With this in mind it's not surprising that we call the leadership 'management by fear'. I once cashed an employee up and he had a till difference of 30p. He said to me let me pay that because the company likes the till difference to be zero and he did not want to be documented as an employee with a till difference.
Another thing is the incessant 'DM list' (a list of jobs left by the District Manager) left frequently for in-store staff, a list which has to be completed by two days...."John" said the DM...."all of my DM jobs have to be treated as a priority" Sometimes these jobs were given before the weekend, and it was simply impossible to get them done on Saturday and Sunday as my in-store colleagues would tell me. Some of these jobs seemed quite strange like having to move a clip board so that it is hanging from a hook instead of standing on a shelf. Strange because on top of these jobs staff are expected to still put out all the stock, maintain the shopfloor, work on the till, make orders, serve customers etc. It's not surprising that staff roted to start at 6am would sometimes start at 3am (unpaid) in order to get everything done.
In a legal sense I find the company really covers themselves very well. ‘Do not drive when tired’ written in documents you’re given. But when you start working for Lidl you’ll see the real Lidl differs to the Lidl on you’re contract. One time they demanded that I drive to head office to get price tickets (as punishment for my incompetence), I was so tired but I did not say no, a task to add to the many other things to do that day! These tickets would have just come the next day had I not driven there. Other parts of my contract seemed to be ignored too, working many more hours than stated and travelling more too. When I was in training the company even had less staff than normal at the store, to put me under “more pressure” - I said to myself I am driving so much and could have a car accident from fatigue, these people are complete ****holes. And man I ended up hating this company car which I spent my life in!
I am astonished with the things I have seen in my Lidl career. Honesty checks where they drop a £10 note in the staff toilets to see if staff hand it in. Searching customers’ shopping on exit, pretending that they do it for training purposes, but really checking if anything’s been stolen. Small wonder that one staff member left, saying he’s better off on the dole.
I have never really understood this company. I told a relative of my frustrations working for Lidl, they just replied – you can’t win with those people. I think this probably sums it up.
On one time before stocktake the District Manager said that I had to work an open-close, ending up to be 6am-10pm, then starting at 6am the next morning. When I counted the stock I was so tired that I could not do simple counting. Then the DM made out I was completely incompetent. Another occasion I had my name read out in front of others because my car was dirty, even though I cleaned it twice in the week. The only dirt was from the journey that morning. But Lidl doesn’t care about you’re excuses, there such a black and white company “I don’t care about you’re explanation because I pay you a fantastic salary and it’s a great opportunity” My boss once said to me. Great opportunity to do what? Burnout? Do your back in? Do alarm call outs at 4am? Treat staff like ****? Er no thanks.
This week i've had to work a 7 day week and still manage to hit their out-of-control targets that if you do manage to get them they just raise them the next day. Whenever you ask them anything they don't agree with they will always reply with "you know where the door is, we have a stack of applications to replace you." Always a boost.
Don't forget the "NO TALKING, NO SMILING, NO LIFE" policy that follows their shifts that are 07:00-finish, 11:30-finish, 14:00-finish.
There MANY things that Lidl get away with, such as they had an independant employee survey company come in but we NEVER saw the questionares but the "employees" gave a good response. Lastly, Christmas just gone we were all forced to to book holidays in for the times of their choosing.
I don't know a single operative in my w/h that ISN'T trying to go elsewhere for work.
Anyway, I attended the hearing and told the area manager and someone who was completely unknown to me (and wasn't even introduced to me) that I no longer wished to work for the company and handed him an envelope which contained my letter of resignation plus the cost of a packet of crisps that the store manager refused to allow me to pay for.
I told the area manager that the company was a disgrace. I informed him about fraud going on within the company but he didn't care. The store manager was signing training documents for staff members without their prior knowledge or consent. He didn't care. I told him how members of staff have trouble trying to get their breaks, let alone anything else, to which he replied just ring for another till. He seemed to be under the impression that if you rang for another till, someone would jump on a till for you to go on a break. Another member of staff who is always thrown onto first till can be on a 10am-close shift and will want a break at 7pm, and be told no because she finishes in an hour. And this is by other store assistants. The manager has previously thrown a bag of hard boiled sweets at a member of staff because someone annoyed him during an inventory.
Anyway, I handed the area manager my key for the door, emptied my locker and handed him those keys and told him that from this moment on, I no longer work for Lidl and I expect my pay slips (which I couldnt get at because they were always locked in the top safe and there was about 6 months worth in there) and my P45 within a week. 4 weeks later I had to demand them. I had to ask one of the cleaners (who works 3 hour shifts yet gets to stand in the back for 20 minutes drinking tea) on Facebook to get them sent to me. And even then they screwed me out of half a months wages and when I phoned up about it, they didn't even care enough to sort it out. I can't even get through to them on that number now.
About 2 weeks later, I received a letter stating they were dismissing me. Funny that seeing as I had already told them I no longer worked for them. But I do know what caused the problem.
About 2 weeks before all this started, my partner and my mum both came down with a sickness bug that had been going around. This meant that no one was looking after my now 2 year old son. The assistant manager told me that another member of staff was due in at 10am and could I wait until then. I said yes. At 10am when someone came in, I asked about taking my till off, but he tried to back track on me trying to make me stay, telling me that the stock in the warehouse should be my number 1 priority and I told him I couldn't give a monkeys about his stock when my son is left doing god knows what because everyone else is fighting over the bathroom. I told him to either take my till off or I was going and leaving it there. And then all this over a bag of crisps. It didn't start before that because the store manager was on holiday. And I have since found out that they told everyone else that I left on my own volition. They had no idea what was going on behind the scenes.
To paint a picture of the type of company we're dealing with here, the store I worked for hired an assistant manager who previously worked as a bouncer on the nightclubs in town. He had no retail experience at all. This assistant manager was dealing drugs on the carpark, turning up nearly an hour late to open up, which means no bread, fruit and veg, chiller etc had been put out and he had a habit of yelling at staff in front of customers. Did Lidl sack him? Nope they just moved him to another store.
I now think the company may be making things difficult for me getting another job but I always have something up my sleeve. They think they can ruin me but they are dead wrong. I need to have a reputation before they can tarnish it.
I asked about breaks and they told me that you only got a break if you were on an 8+ hour shift but were 'pretty good' as they let everyone go for cigarettes etc. when they wanted one. When it came to my break (7.5 hours into my shift) they told me that although it was officially an hour only 30 minutes was paid so “The staff prefer to just take half an hour and work the rest so they get paid” I knew they were talking rubbish, I decided to still take an hour, but sure enough after half an hour a duty came into the staff room and told me to get back on the shop floor as my break was over and I was eating into the next employee's break and now they wouldn't get a full half hour!!
I was there around a year and a half, during this time I had been ill a number of times but was too scared to phone in ill, one time I had exceptionally bad flu, I had been in the previous day and after asking to go home was denied it and told to come off the tills (where at least I got to stay seated) and work on the shop floor, I rang in and told them I couldn't come in as I was ill. I went in the following Monday and was dragged into a meeting with the manager and assistant manager. I was basically told that it wasn't acceptable and that I could lose my job, that they didn't believe I wasn't well enough to come into work. Soon after I accidentally slept in for a 7am start one day, only by ten minutes but as I was getting ready for work rather than ring to see where I was they sent a duty manager to my doorstep!
Lidl are a horrible, disgusting company to work for, I was shouted and swore at by management because the floor machine was broken and I mopped the whole store by hand but had missed a bit, I refused to go into work for a week and was assured by the area manager that it would be sorted, I never heard anything. I was once accused of stealing from my till as it was down one evening and forced to pay £20 of my own money to put in the till, I was then put on a final warning by the area manager despite never having a verbal or written one first. I was constantly rang on my day off to come in on days off, if I worked a short shift such as 7am until 11am I was nagged to stay longer and if I said no the manager would change the rota there and then and tell me I was on the rota to stay later therefore have no choice, If I still refused he told me I was letting the team down and ultimately other members of staff would suffer and would be told it was my fault. We got dangerously high stacked pallets of stock that I was required to put out with only 15 minutes per pallet. I worked 60 hour weeks over Christmas.
Even though I was under a 20 hour contract if I didn't work the overtime they wanted me to it would be deducted from my wages as 'Under-time'. I was called in while I was on holiday, even once while I was actually not in the country I would still receive calls asking me to go in and not believing I was abroad. Stock Taking (more like p*ss taking') or inventory days were a joke, sometimes having to work from 7am until after midnight to count every last bit of stock in the shop, one time the area manager who was there with the store manager (who somehow got out of most of the work) denied us a proper break and thought that a short 10 minute cigarette break would suffice. After leaving the hell-hole I wasn't paid what I was owed and upon seeking legal action received threats of violence and death from people I assume who were relations or friends of staff telling me to drop legal action, I told my solicitor of the threats, Lidl promptly settled out of court.
I have worked for Lidl for nearly a year as a deputy store manager and it has nearly killed me mentally and physically. I have read all of the stories on your site and can relate to them all. When I started it was highlighted to me that Lidl was no longer the horror story it used to be, and that various measures had been put in place to ensure that these frightening conditions would no longer have to be endured by their work force. Unfortunately for me this was no true. The few measures they did introduce where as follows:
- constant visits from Head office auditors to check that rotas where correct and staff where infact not working to many hours. On paper/ computer this looked fine. But the hours I and the rest of the staff actually done was never a true reflection of this. I remember on a few shifts I was so tired I started to hallucinate. There was an atmosphere of fear and bullying that meant staff never spoke up for themselves
- managers would record that staff had had proper breaks. This was never the case. In all my shifts at Lidl I was lucky if I had a half hour break on a twelve or fourteen hour shift.
- introduction of a Peoples welfare officer. What a joke. This was suppose to be a person you could go to with such problems as described. The first time I spoke to her was after being at Lidl for a month, she called me and asked me how I was feeling and fitting in (while my manager was two feet away!) Obviously I felt I could not say anything. I was also informed by a manager that people who speak to her end up getting sacked eventually as the information just goes back to the management that you work with! The manager who warned me of this thought this was extremely funny .
To anyone even considering working for LIDL: DONT DO IT!
I am a hard working intelligent woman, who let them drag me down to the point where I was really unwell and had thought I was worth nothing. Its an impossible job to achieve, they give u countless jobs to do in an impossible time span making you feel so inadequate - thats how they get you. It was a horrible experience which will take me time to recover from and regain who I once was. No one human should have to put up with that, I'm just glad I woke up one day I said NO to Lidl and put myself first.
Another issue I would like to point out, and I am sure most of you will agree, that females are only good for tills and cleaning jobs. This is something that angers me as a female myself I am currently fighting to have this changed. There is as many managers as there is sales assistants in my store, only one of them is female and one male is currently being trained up. The males is able to do orders where is the female manager who has been a manager for 2 years now, has never been shown them and has been given the basic training. Her advice was to transfer to another store to 'get anywhere' with the company. I quizzed my DM about this and his reply back was a smug face and 'Thats where their strengths may lie.' he claimed that the storer manager was using people for their strengths, but in fact a lot of people haven't even been given the chance to even work on the shop floor to show what they can do. Also, I am 100% certain that rotas are worked in a way so that there is always a woman on a till, both day and night, on rare occasions a male is put onto main till. Is simply an act that is just casual now. I started work with two men on an opening around a week ago, one man and myself got tills, he took his first and proceeded to place his till into the second till, leaving me with the only option to put myself into first till. In theory, till should be rotated when the next person comes in and with the people that's second till in the morning with you... Not the case! Another male started at 11:30 and was allowed straight onto the shop floor. I should mention that I use to do night shifts for Lidl which is something most of the males refused to do for them, and I can understand why some females wouldn't like working on the shop floor as it is a hard task and they do demand a lot, however, I like being physically active in my job and my store manager knows I am capable of it but still continues to pick his favourites. We use to joke that his favourite people were at the top of the rota and the worst were at the bottom, now that I look more closely it's true. And to precisely capture my store managers words, "At least with new people joining the team you can move up the pecking order." I've been with the company years, the male who is currently being trained has been with the company less than me and he has had priority over myself for a long time because he is full time. It is sheer favouritism and who can bent over the furthest to be taken advantage of. Women are being taken advantage of in Lidl and it has to stop. I am sick of being overpowered by men who don't do their jobs properly and blame it on the staff.
I am not standing for it anymore. Lidl as a company is a joke and incredibly illegal. I hope one day they got brought down and brought down hard. Small men thinking they can control is something I hate, what these people don't realise is if they are a little bit nicer, a little bit more considerate, people will be willing to work and work hard! I have recently had to record every day I am in work, the time I arrived and exited the building, who I was working with, what my job was for that nite and what events took place.
I seen someone posted something about inventory... Well that's another joke. As a female and not living incredibly close to Lidl I need to travel by bus, the us takes around 10/15 minutes to get home but the busses stop after midnight. When it came to inventory night, everyone dreaded it and our store does not close until 10pm - also just to mention that because of this, on closes we usually have to stay back an hour over our time to finish everything and sometimes they do not pay us, in some cases people have has to stay back 2 hours - The counting starts at 6p, and can continue on till 2am!!! Now because the is no buses for me to get home it takes me around an hour to walk home and it isn't the safest place to be walking home from, I am always at risk of being attacked or worse! Yet some managers leave at the same time with their cars and offer no one lifts home nor do the company provide transport for any member if staff.
Lidl as a whole makes me sick and I am backed into a corner as the only good thing about the job is the fact I can ask to only work Thursday to Sunday for personal reasons and I do receive a good wage, which I doubt I would receive anywhere else. I can't run the risk of taking another job unless I know it's only Thursday till Sunday. I'm stuck and it's making my life incredibly depressing. There is no help and no one cares, there is no such thing as team work and there never will be. I refuse to be backed into a corner anymore and I am standing up for my rights as a human being.
I hope it burns.
For the 4 months i infortunately worked there, i was on a 20 hour contract which i told them i had to fit around my college days. They agreed to this when i first started. This is where the nightmare begun. The first week went ok, 'training' mostly. If that's what they liked to call training. I was shown round the shop and told to get on with it. I then got put onto a till where a Manager watched me for around 2 minutes before he left and i was left to get on with it again.
The first week wasnt particularly that bad, as i finished on time and given my breaks (which you assume you would normally get).
Time went on and thats when i realised that the job wasnt what i thought it would be, my 20 hour contract had turned into a 40 hour contract (without notice). When i called a Manager up about it i was asked if i had been speaking to other employees as he believed we were pulling together to try proove a point to them. It was then i stated that i couldnt fit in my college work with working.
When working 12 hour shift- expect a half hour break... even thought u r entitled to more. They say they will just pay u the rest of your break rather than take it! Why should it be up to them to decide whether u want a half hour break or not? Then other times dont expect breaks.. chances are you won't get one unless you plead with them.
You must turn up 10 minutes early for each shift... unpaid. You are expected to have no social life and stay on to cover other absences. You must also have eyes everywhere on your head to spot 'shoplifters' which isnt easy when you are trying to scan 35 items a minute through the till.
DONT even think about phoning in sick, as i recieved nothing but abuse from my Manager, who demanded to know my personal issues and arranged a meeting. After that i decided to get a Doctors sick note to proove i was unfit to work. Even whilst i was on sick i had voicemails asking me to cover in other shops and asking me when i was going back to work. That is when i decided to quit. Sent a resignment letter and i have never looked back since!!
There are MANY more times where i have been appalled at LIDL and how they treat there staff but i would literaly be here all day.
To be honest with you I hated Lidl in Poland, but in UK is quite better. I mean people are little bit nicely but one thing is really pissing me off-20h contract. I'm lucky because my husband has full time job and we don't have kids yet, but what with people with kids and mortgages? It's hard to live. When I was on interview that Area Manager promised me he will give me full time after 3-4 months. Today is over 2 years when I working at Lidl and still have part-time job because according Area Manager: he don't have more hours to my store :(
What else? Last year he gave me 1st warning because in 2010 I was on sickness too many times (that's what he said). That's true, I was sick couple times for 2-4 days and I was on long sickness because i had car accident and I spent 1 month to recover. He said that he understand that sickness after car accident but he have to give me a warning. And now he keep an eye on me for 12 months (about 8 months more :/ ).
Over the coming months the shifts got longer and longer with very little in the way of breaks and consequently I was becoming ill due to lack of proper meal times. After almost collapsing on the shop floor no less than 3 times through sheer exhaustion of 50+ hours a week with barely enough time to drink a glass of water I decided enough was enough and reduced my time there to a manageable 30 hours or so, even this was tough without proper breaks and nourishment.
I remember arriving for my shift one afternoon at 3:00PM and a colleague saying “Am I glad to see you!” he had been on his shift since 7AM and hadn’t had a break AT ALL!!
This is common practice with staff regularly not getting their breaks.
More recently we have been told that we are only allowed 10 minutes to cash our tills up at the end of our shift (reasonable I think) anyone who takes longer than 10 minutes HAS to clock out and THEN finish cashing up in THEIR OWN TIME! Erm? I thought that once you clock out to leave work you are no longer covered under the company insurance if you had an accident while working?
Just the last week myself and another staff member were told to take holidays for the week during the inventory (a busy time and one that I have done many times before as I am one of the more accurate staff members for the inventory count) they then shipped in staff from a neighboring store and gave them the hours that we should have been offered!
In his infinite wisdom, the DM decided to fill some positions with far too many new employees and such made our store over staffed by 50 hours a week! Consequently ALL the staff has had their contracts cut by between 5-10 hours a week.
I remember that on 2 occasions in the 3 years I had been at the store I was late on 2 occasions. I live in rural Co. Donegal and on my way to work on these occasions I was held up behind tractors bringing turf in from the bogs (not uncommon where I lived) I was 3 minutes late which got me dragged into a disciplinary hearing. They weren’t interested in all the times I had stayed on past my contracted hours EVERY DAY since I had started and all the times I was in store BEFORE my shift was due to start and indeed all the times I had worked my shifts with NO BREAKS! Which is completely against the law anyway, but mention it to the management and you’re done for!!
Hindsight is wonderful and had I known it was this bad then they could have stuck their job up their asses! Still looking for a way out of Lidl as I type this.
Don’t get me started on the fact that if you are to do the bakery, then while doing the bake you have to start at 7AM and get the bakery done by 8:30AM as well as tend to the checkouts (only 1 cashier on first thing in the morning) as well as make sure the plants/flowers are also on the shop floor before 8AM. 5 times I told the manager that I was NEVER trained to do the bakery and still I get hounded when I am still working it at 9AM. My training consisted of…..There’s the prep room; there’s the ovens….figure it out and do it quick!
When I first started in Lidl in 2008 we had 4+ staff members to close the store and prepare it for the following day……Last night and most nights now we had………2! And we have more work to do now with the bakery and the new store layout.
The Rota's would change without warning and if you are unlucky enough to be on a day off and the Rota changes then I’m afraid you will need to get out the tarot cards and crystal ball as you will only know about the shift change when an irate manager phones you and rudely asks where the hell you are? As your shift started 10 minutes ago even though (to your knowledge) it doesn’t start for another 3 hours! The communication between managers and floor staff is non-existent.
Admittedly with any employment there is a certain amount of “give & take” with Lidl, the staff give and they take!
I couldn’t believe that there were so many other employees and past employees with the same views, I thought it was just the one store in Donegal (not saying which one just now) that was bad but it seems that this is a global issue.
Lidl didn’t provide me with their work clothes or shoes. My own trousers wore through in the course of my work. The company wouldn’t lend me the necessary tools, so I brought a cutter knife and pens from home. I didn’t receive a key for certain doors and because of this I often had to sprint an extra distance of approximately 150 metres (about 500 feet). I moved glass splinters of returned bottles from one large container to another using my palms, because there was no shovel.
A manager pressed me to take a pallet using an electric pallet jack, when he himself was blocking my path to the pallet by standing in the way with another pallet. There was always a hurry in Lidl, but managers had the time to speak ill of the shop assistants behind their backs. When a shop assistant was off work ill, I was told the name of the illness, even though it was none of my business.
Every day I was there on time. I had a positive attitude towards the work and I always tried my best. The till was balanced almost always. Customers thanked me, because I was quick at checkout and helped them. However, Lidl didn’t pay a wage or grant free meals or any compensation. Hungrily I eyed food products.
At the end of my last shift I went to the office. There was a manager who was sitting with his back to me. I noticed my certificate of internship on the table. I had got bad marks. I hadn’t asked for assessment. Lidl wouldn’t even grant me a thank you or a handshake.