The first day of "work" started disastrously by having to wait half an hour, for a taxi that had already been to pick me up once before. Still the excuse I am given is "I didn't know where the site was". Suspicious much? Supported by the fact that upon arrival I was met by the news, all but one of the other girls were equally as late. Not only that but they were all given the same lame excuse. The only girl on time being Margaret as she gave up waiting and made her own way there. I honestly don't blame her as she was supposed to be picked up by the same taxi as myself, from this I have the knowledge that it only arrived there at 10:25 am. Work was supposed to start at 10:00 am. This raises the question, how could she, along with all of the girls have possibly made it to the factory on time? The first of many, not so subtle, dramatised set ups.
When all of the girls had arrived we were made to line up against the wall like the Primary children Miss Madine assumes us to be. While Leanne takes the opportunity to have a good laugh at the girls' expense, simply because they have a can of Red Bull, and some of their style choices aren't what she deems appropriate for a first day of work. Firstly, I would like to question the humorous aspects of drinking a can of Red Bull early in the morning. I know many teenagers, Travellers and Gorjers a-like that drink it as a pick me up, it is an energy so therefore it is serving its purpose. Secondly, I would like to point out that each and every girl received a phone call from the film crew, requesting them to dress their best for their first day of work. Only the girls that hadn't been in a place of work before listened to their vague dress code. I for one thought it pretty cruel of them, it is uncomfortable enough feeling out of place, on your first day of work without the dreaded feeling of being overdressed.
Once the floor had been set up into the crews' liking, we were positioned, repositioned, and then repositioned again. The staff took turns introducing themselves and what they do before Thelma took her turn to step up. One of the first things to leave her lips was none of the colleges in the area will let us take up a course or attend the college because "...you are Travellers and no one trusts you...". Clearly a lovely nugget of inaccurate gold to pass on to your newly hired "apprentices". She then went on to remind us of the rules and various other information. Immediately taking this opportunity to alienate me by saying I am the most "experienced" and most "educated", being neither subtle or phrasing it softly. As if that wasn't enough she carried on by announcing I would be working on corsets with Yan-Lee. Soon after which she just dismissed the other girls by reason of she hadn't given any thought yet as to which area they would be working in.
Lunchtime arrived and it was clear that Leanne wanted nothing to do with us and didn't want any of the other staff interacting with us either, so she plotted for them all to eat in her design room, with clear disregard for Thelma's rules. Thelma gave merely one attempt to reestablish her authority over her own rule-breaking employees but it was clear she had no control over them, in the coming weeks it became apparent as to why.
Thelma Madine was barely ever at the factory, when she was there she would hide out in the kitchen or the office and not let any of the girls near her unless the cameras were there at the ready. During my ten weeks there I saw Thelma on a sewing machine once for all of five minutes. This was to show Victoria how to do a straight stitch on a piece of scrap material.In fact I was told straight from the horses mouth after I put a zip into a pencil skirt "I can't even put zips in". I didn't learn a thing from her, I was actually put to work on the customers' wedding dresses within a few weeks. The few things I did learn on the "course" I learnt from Thelma's unappreciated workers: Yan-Lee, Stacey, Doll, and Marta. All of whom are of other nationalities, and I got along with them better than most of the other people in that factory where as I didn't see one ounce of respect from Thelma towards them. I would love to know how from this it is Gypsies & Travellers that are "racist" to people that "can't speak English".