At least 50 people who thought they had been hired travelled to the tournament only to be told they were on a reserve list
Published by the Guardian (Online June 25, 2014 and possibly Print June 26, 2014).
By Alexandra Topping. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian.
Generated: 299 comments and at least 262 shares.
At least 50 people who turned up at Wimbledon having been promised a job have been turned away without work, it has emerged.
One applicant showed the Guardian emails which appear to confirm that she had been hired by organisers of the tennis championships for a catering role. However, she said that when she attended a training day on Saturday, she was told she had in fact been on a reserve list and there was no work for her.
Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu, who took the train from Brighton to Wimbledon for the training day, said she and others had been told travel expenses would not be reimbursed and they would only be paid £25 – the flat rate for the day’s training. The 20-year-old student said applicants were told that last year 200 people had turned up to be on the waiting list and all had been given jobs.
“The most annoying thing is that they never made any mention of a reserve list. We were never told there was a possibility that we might not have a job when we turned up,” Craggs Mersinoglu said. “One girl I had sat with said she had checked only two days before that our emails meant we had a job – on the phone they said yes. Other people had asked while we waited how long it was going to take. ‘Not long’ was the reply.”
The jobs were advertised by Facilities Management Catering, which is owned by Compass Group. “When we complained we were not given a proper apology and we were told there was no contract so we had no rights,” Craggs Mersinoglu said. “People had turned down other work, bought uniforms and made arrangements to stay in London. To treat a large group of people in this way is just not acceptable.”
She said the online application for the role had taken several hours, as references had to be emailed to the organising company, and the online training session had taken three hours. “It was such a waste of time. Even when we turned up in the morning they didn’t tell us we were on a reserve list and there was a possibility we wouldn’t get jobs. They kept us waiting outside the office for three and a half hours before they told us there was no work.”
The waiting students were told they could turn up again on Monday – for the start of the tournament – in the hope that some people may not have turned up for work. “I didn’t go out of principle. But also as I would have been travelling at peak time it would have cost another £50. I just don’t have that money,” said Craggs Mersinoglu.
“The trend towards zero-hours contracts and movement away from workers’ rights means many in the UK have to wait to be told if they are being offered work every single day. They have to support themselves and their families; I was only trying to fund my summer. I do not want to come across as an entitled member of Generation Y, rather that I expect to be treated with a degree of dignity and honesty.”
A spokesperson for Facilities Management Catering said: “Given the nature of event hospitality, there may unfortunately be a small number of applicants who we are unable to provide roles for at the start of the event. This is stated in our handbook, which applicants must confirm that they have read by way of signing and returning an acceptance slip. In the first few days of the event, we typically find roles for these people – this has been the case at Wimbledon this year, with additional positions being allocated today.
“In line with industry practice, we ask all colleagues to wear black trousers or a black skirt and suitable black shoes. FMC provides all additional uniform and equipment at no cost to the individual.”
Despite being repeatedly asked for a statement on the matter, Wimbledon said it had no comment.
Following the publication of this article, Facilities Management Catering said it had now found jobs for all the applicants who had been turned away, contacting them via phone or email.
Both Craggs Mersinoglu and George David, another student who told the Guardian he had been turned away without work on Saturday, said they had not been contacted since with an offer of work. “I don’t want to work for them now anyway, they have messed me around too much,” said David.
Personal update: Following the publication of the updated article, I was contacted with a renewed job offer, which I originally declined but later accepted.