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Friday, December 7, 2012

Lunch Room Standards

"Exhausted retailing staff battling frenzied Christmas shoppers finally took a break only to find that their lunch room had no hot water and no kettle to make a drink, even though they had carried their own tea bags, sugar and milk to work. There was no soap and nowhere to wash off the grime before eating their packed lunch, lukewarm by now because there was no fridge to keep them cool. The milk was turning. They had realised it was a risk bringing chicken sandwiches on a hot day like this. They traipsed outside to have their sandwiches in what shade they could get from the adjacent building because the tables and benches were covered in rat droppings. Unfortunately no-one had cleaned the place for at least a year now...."

A above is a piece of fiction.

Could you imagine if these were the standards at your work place?
We could be ridiculous about expectations given a free reign but what are the very least we would accept?
Somewhere to wash before eating?
Somewhere to be able to prepare your lunch?
Perhaps a kettle to boil water could be considered a luxury.
I think faeces free areas are the very least one could hope for.
What if the above were true?
Would you be happy if your son or daughter was treated this way?

This is the reality of my husband's lunch room.
He works in sheds but I don't think it is too much to ask that their eating environment is cleared of possum and rat urine and droppings. 
You expect things to be rough and perhaps hoping for a fridge to keep lunches safe and cool is a stretch but for goodness sake a kettle?
The place was so filthy that the men had to go outside and squat in the shade of the shed to eat their lunch after working their guts out taking off shitty dags from sheeps backsides.
And before you start thinking perhaps the farmer is doing it tough, think again, this is a large property doing well for themselves in the northern midlands.

Wonder how you would feel if your workplace couldn't even provide you with scant basics. 
Would you feel as outraged and affronted as I do?


  1. As a gal who works "in the field," I have to say this is a two-edged sword.
    It's a perk not having to wear nylons and perfume, sitting on my butt in an office all day. In return, I don't have a fridge, a toilet, or even the ability to contact anyone sometimes. I was struck by a rattlesnake a few years ago and had to drive about 10 minutes before I got into radio range. Tough way to work, I suppose.
    However, IF there's a sink provided by an employer, then HELL yes they ought to clean it, assuming it's plumbed in and not just a dump sink! And if there's electricity for the trimmers or lights or such, then the guys should request a mini fridge and kettle.
    Honestly, though, I'd take a sink full of possum pee over the constant gossip, harping, and mundane goings-on in an office anyday! In fact, I'd rather not have a working sink, because them I might be expected to care about how much mud is smudged on my face, and worse yet, actually DO something about it!

  2. Ah the lot of a shearer. I am married to a retired shearer and oh the stories he has told. Back in the day when meals were still cooked for shearers, he recalls that most of the time is was an old ewe that had died a while ago and was already a shade of green before being cooked up and fed to the shearers. They ought to be gratefull as well. (sigh) Still, my retired shearer longs to still be at it.

  3. Hey Tanya, yes, I can understand your outrage.
    Perhaps Craig could leave a bottle of dettol or some such cleaning agent around......a not so subtle hint to the owners!!
    Such a tough job, you would think a little forethought for the workers comfort wouldn't be too much too ask.

    Claire x

  4. These conditions are disgusting and I know it's all too common. My sister used to work as a shearers cook out of Wilcannia,NSW and it used to take her a whole day just to clean the kitchen up to her standards before she could start. I don't know why station owners/farmers think that shearers and rousies are second class citizens. And what are the OH&S implications??

    She had a kero fridge and a wood fire stove to cook on. Shearers quarters were always disgusting so she and her shearer husband had a caravan for their accomodation. She used to make lamingtons, jelly cakes and cream puffs in +40C temperatures for their smoko and lovely hot lunches for them. They were all appreciative of her cooking. I think she gave it away when a snake made it's way into the kitchen one morning!

    Cheers - Joolz

  5. Sounds like it is common place in this industry .... just a pity the owners didn't have some common sense or decency to do something about it.... don't suppose there is a shearers union :)

  6. speechless . . .
    a manner in which to clean their hands would be a bare minimum in my estimation.

  7. This is why I believe in unions Tanya. Do the shearers have a union?
    There is no excuse for this other than a lack of respect for workers!
    How easy would it be to pop a second hand kitchen unit with a k mart kettle an old fridge and a few nice tables from vinnies.
    It's a disgrace to think such hard working people have to put up with this.

  8. Oh my goodness...poor sound name and shame that farm and refuse to shear the sheep ...nnnooo that would never do..poor sheep would be the ones to suffer there...i agree with much would a few necessities cost ..and for goodness sake it is tax deductible...Unions are the go i reckon ..there must be one for Shearers????

  9. I would have thought there needed to be basic clean facilities everywhere people are hired! Could you imagine Government offices sending their workers outside to eat with no other facilities...hehe..they'd be off in a shot!


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