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Gemma's Story

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" I have done a bit of everything in this world, except working with some stability and in dignity"

Gemma, 27 years, Spain

My name is Gemma, I am 27 and I am an educationalist.

I live with my parents in a village in the Vega plain, nearby Granada. Due to my working conditions, I cannot afford to live on my own. At the moment, I am working for two different companies. The first one is a small company organizing cultural activities. I am an instructor in a class which starts very early in the morning. In the afternoon, I work as a sociocultural activity leader in a home for the elderly, even though my diploma has nothing to do with this job.

I have been an instructor in holiday camps, an extra in street theater activities, a clown in children's communions, a supervisor in several workshops, in a canteen, in extracurriculum activities, and I gave private classes... All in all, I have done a bit of everything in this world, except working with some stability and in dignity.

In most jobs, I didn't even have a contract, with all the consequences (no insurance, no social contributions). No need to mention the seasonal and unsteady nature of the work.

In the home for the elderly, I have been hired for 15 hours per week with an open-ended contract. I have been there for two years. Actually I arrived there by accident. My village town hall gave the home my name because I had worked with them as an activity leader.

During the first interview, the director of the center told me clearly what she expected from me: the activity leader was there to entertain, in particular in front of the public. She wanted costumes and screams. Nothing sociocultural. Analyzing, planning, evaluating was out of the question. So was investing in material, or giving my opinion within the technical team.

So even if I am an educationalist, I am working as a sociocultural activity leader.

The company has five union representatives who haven't been able to answer some of my questions so far. Am I entitled to any training hours? Do they have to give me a day off for each public holiday I work on? Do I have to buy and pay for the shoes that match the uniform?

And most colleagues are like me.

My salary is based on the salary scale of those who work in “Care for dependent people and promotion development”. In euros ... about three hundred. I would earn eight hundred if I worked full time.

For all those reasons I joined LA PLATA (the Platform), [an action initiative of the YCW in Granada, Spain ] because I want to share my situation with other workers in the sector, I want to be informed about my rights, because I was already told about my duties, I want to share resources and information, and most of all, I want a quality work both for the users of the service and myself.

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